My plan to use Inktober as a forced reason to reinvigorate my fiction writing died almost as soon as it started. I made an attempt to write for day two (“Noisy”) but it felt all wrong and I was wound up about a big meeting I had at work. Then my coworker got sick that afternoon and it all just went downhill from there. I haven’t felt much like writing since.
But I’ve been reading a ton. Seriously, I read four books in seven days and listened to one audio book. It’s not even that the books were particularly engaging – they were mostly fluff – but for the last week I’ve really just wanted to let my brain recharge. I wanted to walk away from reality a little and be somewhere else. When I get stressed out, that’s what I do.
TV is a good form of escapism and I’ve used that method many times. But after a whole day of binge watching I usually feel guilty and restless and bored. I don’t feel that way when I binge read. I’m not passively watching a story unfold, I become a part of it. I’m in the story, feeling all the things the characters feel. There’s no better way for me to escape my own life then to wear someone else’s emotional shoes for a little while.
So what did I read this week? Two teenage paranormal thrillers, two contemporary romance books, and a witty collection of short narratives by mental health blogger Jenny Lawson about her experiences and escapades. A real variety.
I wanted to be in someone else’s shoes for a while. I wanted to read something that would make me laugh, or sit on the edge of my seat, or cringe with remembered angst. I wanted to feel all those things that I’m not really feeling in my life at the moment because it’s so consumed with the stress of stuff I can’t control. So even though these types of books are “fluff” for me, they were exactly what I needed.
I put a lot of pressure on myself sometimes to read the “right” things. And to read books with diverse authors and unusual narratives with something to say. Those things are becoming more and more important to me and they’re opening my eyes to different things, different perspectives. But sometimes I just need to read for pure emotional reasons, for escapism, for the stupid fun of it.
So I’m not going to be mad at myself for not writing. It was something I wanted to do, but spending the time to read all those books instead made me happy. It felt right. And I’m not going to argue with that.