Hands up all of you who like reading? Keep your hands up if you read “real” books with paper and ink, rather than the electronic type? And how many of you have tried to write one?
I had to put my hand down at the third one, mostly because I don’t think I have the imagination to write anything that long that anyone would want to read. I am grateful to each and every one of you that stop by to browse my musings, but I’m pretty sure that most, if not all, would move on if I was publishing a novel here.
I don’t see blogging in the same way as I see writing a book: you write a little (or a lot) about something that interests you, or that you’ve noticed, and hope that you get a few likes on that post. It takes a few minutes, half an hour at the most, and you can move on to something completely different next time you sit down to write. But you don’t have deadlines (other than those you set for yourself), you tend not to have publishers or fans desperate for your next piece of work, and you (generally) don’t get paid!
Don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful blogs out there, and some really talented and imaginative writers producing them. If I have some spare time I like nothing more than scrolling through the WordPress Reader to see what gemus it reveals. I’m genuinely in awe of the quality of work available across such a wide range of topics. I have no doubt that some of the writers here in the blogosphere will end up as published authors, and they will deserve it.
Anyhow, back to books. I keep buying new books, and don’t seem to be finishing as many as I read. To me, there’s nothing better than sitting down with a “real” book, smelling the pages as you turn them, charting your progress as you move your marker through it. Not for me the habit of turning corners of pages over to remind me where to start next, oh no. I use rail tickets, business cards (mine, just in case), postcards, anything that comes to hand.
I complain that my bags are too heavy, but won’t remove the two or three books that live in each. I’ve only a limited amount of space on my shelves, so books get stacked by the bed, on my desk, on the floor. I used to be able to say I’d read more than 99% of the books in my bookcases: I’m not sure I can claim 90% now.
That leads me back to Mr Wilde’s point in today’s image. In my view, there are so many good quality books around that I haven’t read, that the world is likely a better place without me contributing something which is nowhere near as good. I gain pleasure out of other people’s abilities, and there will always be material I want to read, even if I live as long as printed characters stay with us.