I can even recall vividly the moment I completed an entire book in one sitting: in case you're wondering, the book was Enid Blyton's The Enchanted Wood.
I stayed cosy and warm on my living room couch, unmoving and absorbed in those black words on white paper, for close to half a day. And wow, it was amazing to get drawn into an absolutely different - weird and magical - world from the one I knew I lived in.
That sense of wonder and awe at the power of the written word to compel a reader to travel all over the Earth and beyond has stayed with me since childhood. I'm always surrounded by books at home. And somehow, as messy as it sounds, I find a way to surround myself with books of some sort or another when I'm at work.
I love reading. I simply adore reading. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't read another book. And I really can't fathom how some people go their whole lives without reading books. Everyone's different, of course. But to not read out of choice... That form of existence is anathema to me, and would no doubt depress me out of my wits.
Now that I've got across my love affair with reading, perhaps you'll be able to understand why writing became my more obsessive love. Maybe I'm trying to reproduce the magic I experienced reading the works of others. Maybe I simply feel an urgent need to contribute to the library of fascinating, everlasting stories that the human community has been compiling since the dawn of all things dreamt and spoken. Maybe I'm a dreamer who enjoys escaping reality sometimes:) Whatever the reason, I write every day, even if it's just a few words on my blogs, and I never fail to enjoy the experience of dancing with language and thought each time I write.
I think that ever since I read The Enchanted Wood though, I've been hoping also that some reader out there might just find my writing as wonderful and enchanting as I found Blyton's so long ago.
This hope was more like a dream, you know - ie, I never really thought this would happen in reality. I've since been proven wrong, and gradually developed what I thought was a healthy relationship with writing and being a writer.
But - somehow, there's always a 'but', isn't there? - when I started putting my writing up as ebooks on Smashwords and Amazon's Kindle Store, all the old doubts crept back in.
I'd spend days wondering which works would get the most attention from readers, which would be the most attractive and enjoyable to others. What if no one liked anything? What if every single piece of my writing sucked big time?? (yes, I became a bit nutty at one point:D)
Whenever these thoughts plagued my writerly mind, I girded my loins (hmm, never thought I'd ever use that phrase in my writing) and reminded myself of the power of self-promotion:D Frankly, I thought my short stories would do far better than my poetry, and was prepared to market 'em for all I was worth.
But the funny thing is, out of all the works I've written so far, it's my poetry that's given me my first (four star) Amazon review:)
Given the wonderful compliments in that review - especially a comparison to Emily Dickinson that made me go numb with shock (and awe lol) for some seconds *still jumping with glee inside as I write this* - I've become more convinced than ever that this is the path my life must take, but I've also realised how insecure a writer I can be.
I didn't think I'd need validation from others, but that's obviously untrue, especially since it was after that review that I began to feel really good about the effort I'd put into arranging all those messy words into perfect, neat, remarkable little sentences. All those late nights and frustrated thoughts of never making it as a successful author finally seemed worth something tangible, real... something Blyton-ish in power:)
Hmmm it seems that, for this writer, validation from readers is akin to sweet, soft balm for the writerly soul:)
Whatever happens from now on, at least I'll always know that someone out there has read and liked my work. What a gorgeous piece of knowledge for any author to have at the back of their mind as they sit down to create beloved, intimate tales for others to read:)