To Read Is to Write

to read

I met a girl who’d subjected herself to an impressive schedule. A fiction and a non-fiction every week, no matter what.

It seemed a vigorous routine. Like school homework. Do it, finish it, and move on to the next. Reading is learning yes, but to me it seemed like she forced herself to read, read, and read even more.

Which is not a wrong thing. Except it felt so wrong that someone who’d read so much wouldn’t want as much to do with writing. She had an aversion to writing, and I couldn’t understand that.

When I first got bored with my school routine, I took to reading. I wasn’t as aggressive as I’d like to claim, but I read a lot.

And I realised I loved reading. From Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Sherlock Holmes to Harry Potter, and Narnia, it was a crescendo of curiosity. And I believe that was a good thing.

I used to sit under a not-so-bright lamp, all night, peering at the fine print. It was fascination beyond anything I had felt. I loved the way reading made me feel. I longed for the lure of the sentences, the way a story moved from one word to another, how every letter and every comma only enriched the narrative, and how every single dash or stroke on paper added so much value.

I loved absorbing more than the story — the size of the print, the blackness of it, and the tiny strokes that sharpened every curve. I began to see the beauty in a full stop, the potential in ellipsis, the continuity in a comma, and the definite uncertainty in a question mark.

And that’s when I understood I want to write like that.

I had, for years, admired the way writers played with words, the way Shakespeare shattered grammar rules and yet made it sound so right. And I wanted to do the same, in such a way so as to make another young reader stare swell in love with words — just as I had.

And that’s why I never comprehend when someone says they love reading, but can’t write. What do they see while reading, I wonder?

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