I wish I enjoyed reading more than I do. I really do. But even when I read fiction that I enjoy, it’s difficult for me. This is not because I have trouble reading–I can read English very well, thank you very much–the problem in fact stems from the fact I cannot turn my brain off. While most people praise reading because it requires the imagination, this is why I loathe it so. I want to enjoy the prose and the narrative, the author’s wordplay and the feeling that it invokes. But instead I’m too busy staging scenes in my head. I’m too busy imagining the story as a movie, an animated series, a comic book; at times, even a video game. I substitute dialog on the fly, change environments and pacing, add entire scenes and characters that are nowhere to be found in the story, often to the point where I can’t remember which parts were the book and which parts only were in my head. At my worst, I’ll physically set the book aside to finish playing through a made-up scene in my head before continuing.
I hate this. It keeps me from enjoying the book, and it’s only gotten worse with age. I’m to the point now to where I do this when watching movies. Is this something everyone else does and actually enjoys, and I just don’t realize it?
Regardless, over the years the best remedy I’ve found is to find enjoyment writing stories instead of reading them. It’s why I have so many half-finished manuscripts littering my hard drive. Unfortunately, I’m my only audience–no one else seems over the years has given them more than a glance, but what else is new–but even more dreadful in my mind is thus: a writer who does not read is nary a writer at all. If I don’t read, can I really improve my craft? I seriously doubt it.
Not to mention I think it’s only aggravating my condition…