It’s a vicious cycle, debilitating one moment, inspiring the next, it feeds my desire to learn and slowly pulls at the insecurity of my abilities. It is fuel on the fire, stoking my passion to explore my own literary ideas. It is the pulled thread, unravelling my dreams.
Is this what it is to be a writer? To be found reading with wonderous awe as a story gathers pace before your eyes, the skilled manipulation of the reader crafted through each sentence, each line of dialogue pulling you deeper into the world the writer has created. The slow, building sense of envy, as I reflect on my own bludgeoning attempts at the same.
As the days pass, I flip flop between these poles, repelled one day, attracted the next. Both strong forces, equal in strength, that can’t be mastered; they are in my DNA, hard coded and irrevocable.
I’ve managed to maintain my reading habit since those first quiet days of the new year, I’m choosing my books with some care for the moment, re-reading an old favourite, re-visiting childhood memories (unaware if I ever read the BFG or if it was always on the periphery of my library going).
Perhaps too carefully though; these writers seem to offer easy words, a flowing tumult of imagery, plot and pacing wash over me, serving to further highlight my inferiority. I should not hold my candle up to the roaring infernos of Dahl, King, and Christie.
Yet, each time I do I find the embers of my meagre offerings glow a little brighter, small flickering flames leap up from the ashes and whisper of hope. It is enough, it is always enough, to push me to battle on.
I read because I write. I write because I read. It wasn’t always so, it does seem like a new normal is being established.