…at least not of the fiction variety.
I used to love to read. I still do, but now I tend to read a lot of online articles and non-fiction. When I want a fix of fictional stories, I tend to watch films or television instead. This is not because I merely think fiction is for entertainment – in fact, it is not really a conscious decision at all. Simply put, when I look over how much I read fiction versus how much I watch it, the amount of time that I spend watching it is definitely higher.
By contrast, the last few books that I have read have all been non-fiction accounts or discussions of science or current events. This is not to say that I enjoy reading long academic tomes – I like my non-fiction to be relatable. It is supposed to be fun and interesting.
I inevitably ask myself why. Why do I not enjoy reading fiction that much? It isn’t as though I don’t like reading about fiction and storytelling. It isn’t as though I don’t enjoy learning about stories. It isn’t that I don’t like stories themselves, or that I have no imagination and can’t visualise the world of a novel.
And that’s the short of it: I do not read many novels. I often read the same novels multiple times – and I enjoy them very much. They are like good friends. There is not always a rhyme or reason to why a certain novel grabs my attention: some are science fiction, some are fantasy, some are historical, some are mysteries, and some are stories that I have loved for many years. Some are aimed at older children or teens, while others are adult novels. Some are stories that I studied in school and thus got to know rather intimately.
So why do new novels rarely persuade me to read them? Why do I write stories and poems that seem to have no specific audience?
It is somewhat embarrassing, but I write what I like to read.
I am an odd duck when it comes to being marketed to. I can still enjoy a young adult novel, but I enjoy it from the adult perspective – so it has to be written that way. I can sympathize with a lot of female-centric contemporary stories aimed at adults, but I don’t really identify with them. I have no children, I do not have a very complicated romantic life, and I don’t enjoy shopping as self-medication. I don’t have a lot of BFFs or a large family that drives me insane. In short, many of the things that protagonists seem to be trying escape from are things that I would enjoy escaping to. So the protagonists come across as unsympathetic and not really worth my reading a whole novel about them. Listening to someone complain about their spouse, children, frenemy, or household problems is too realistic.
I also like mysteries, but I am quite comfortable watching these in hour-long installments on television rather than reading them – just a personal preference.
Thus it isn’t that I don’t read, or that I don’t love books – I love books more than I love actually reading them. But when it comes to fiction, I am very particular about the story. When I actually sit down to read something cover-to-cover, I want to enjoy it.
And in the meantime, I write stories that I hope others enjoy, but I know that I already do.