Spilling my thoughts—and emotions—is almost a stimulus after I turn the last page of a book. In my bookworm circle I would be quick to jump into discussions, which are often a hodgepodge of con-crits and outbursts of fangirlism-laced blathering. But there’s always a time when I would sit quietly in front of the computer, weave my thoughts into a coherent tightness, and then let them crawl into the monitor. Sometimes I would gush, sometimes readers would hear a giggle between my words, but more often than not I’m earnest when setting my two cents onto the virtual tray that is my blog.
And then there’s always someone who will ask: “Why don’t you just enjoy it? Why don’t you just enjoy reading the book and stop looking for something you can comment on?"
The questions never fail to make me pause; I would have laughed if they’re thrown in jest. But they’re serious. It just dawned on me that when I devour any kind of literature, some people think I’m actively looking for something to include in a review.
"Why don’t you just enjoy it?" they ask.
"I do enjoy it," I would offhandedly reply.
It’s true. Whenever I hold a book in my hands, I’m largely aware that I’m holding two worlds: the story’s world and the author’s world. I can’t control it. The aspiring writer in me refuses to go blind; it refuses to un-notice the world-building, the gradual growth of flat characters into three-dimensional people, the adrenaline rush-inducing thickening of a plot, or the author’s narrating voice.
And I enjoy all these. I love having all these “back stage" happenings unfold before my very eyes. Sometimes I learn from them. Sometimes I marvel at them; sometimes I wish the author did something else that I think would make the final work better. It doesn’t feel like I’m holding the dear book under a microscope, really. It just feels like I’m getting close to its heart and its author’s heart. It’s there and I can’t ignore it. It’s…natural.
The wonder of the whole thing goes so far that I would go on and reread some books. When I told a friend I’m re-reading a lengthy fiction, she got curious about my reasons. “It’s not like you don’t know what’s going to happen," she said. “You’ve known that in the first read. The element of surprise is lost." I told her that that may be true, but aside from reliving and relishing the “memory" of a story, I revel at the element of anticipation, too. I want to have a closer look at how the author created the twists and turns, how he handled the fleshing out of the characters, how he took the reader from here to there. I want to view these things with refreshed eyes, to know if the same emotions will boil in me when I read the same things the second, third, or fourth time around.
I savor all that alongside the show that spreads itself in front of the readers, also known as the story itself. Getting lost in this “side" of the world is escapism at its finest, and I don’t blame the people who think I’m not immersing myself fully in the bliss of fiction when my writer’s mind’s eye switch on alert mode. What they don’t realize is I’m experiencing double the joy. I’m sure there are others that feel like this way, too.
Reading is a drug; I can never refute that. But I know writing is a drug too, and I just can’t stop feeding my addiction when I know I can combine the two. :)