Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Joyous Return after an Instructive Absence

I am happy to report that Mr. Laptop is home and healthy, and ready to resume work.

Remembering how long it seemed to take to get fixed when Mr. Laptop broke down in January, I was ready this time to make better use of the days without my electronic companion. I decided to brush up on my reading, with an eye towards improving my prose. And the man I turned to for that was F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Over the course of Mr. Laptops absence, I read "This Side of Paradise" and "The Beautiful and the Damned." Both are very worthy titles, if you can get into the idea that these are not what usually pass for novels nowadays. They are both more like character studies. They follow the lives of two similar main characters from boyhood to a crucial turning point in their lives. But while I found the characters, and the way their personalities shaped their fates, was also the prose that made these stories work. It was an education reading them.

Stephen King once said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write. Simple as that."  I'm really becoming a believer in that.

There is a lot to be learned from reading masters of prose like Fitzgerald, Chandler, or even Bradbury. After  ten days in their company, I looked at my current project with fresh eyes and see how it could be done so much better in places. So my Kindle now has a folder for "Literature", mainly for writers who I'll download for my own edification and to learn as much as I can.

Writing is good. But writing and improving is better.

I'm going to be sure and make more time for reading in the future.

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