Posted by: julia
on Nov 21, 2012
(Hmm, what kind of excuse can I start a blog post with this time? Let’s see, how about the time-honored “I’ve been busy?” Or the classic “I’ve been distracted by other events and creative projects?” Or perhaps the generally pathetic “I’ve been juggling too many things?” Yeah, all true, but why haven’t I blogged? Ummm...okay, I got nothin’. I will just have to remain parenthetically unrepentant and soldier on, as always.)
So yeah, it’s been awhile since I said anything here on Parentheticals. Re-entry from Burning Man took me most of September, and then there was a child starting middle school to get used to, Jewish High Holidays to celebrate, a “big number” birthday party for the husband to plan and execute, a house guest to hang out with, a Kickstarter campaign to create and market, a big Fly Your Freak Flag High event to prep and staff, Halloween to get ready for, and final edits to do on my book. This on top of all the “normal” life admin and parenting stuff that inevitably comes up. I’m exhausted just remembering it.
What I want to set down for the record though, is my experience earlier this month at the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto. It was not only awesome in a general way, it was also a major manifested moment in my “becoming an author” trajectory. Let me explain, by way of a brief detour through my recent history with going to science fiction and fantasy cons.
Posted by: julia
on Nov 17, 2011
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about reading, and its place in my life. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about how it was being a voracious reader as a kid that made me want to be a writer, and about how these days I write a lot more than I used to, but in “olden days” I used to read a whole lot more than I do now. I miss reading. I miss that feeling of diving into a book and not coming out for hours and hours, finally surfacing blurry-eyed and satisfied out of story world into the “real” world, ready to dive into another story.
Reading used to be my main form of entertainment, my go-to activity whenever I could sneak it in. But then life got a lot more complicated and full of other distractions, and my reading time evaporated. (One of the things I truly hated about grad school was how it destroyed my ability to read for pleasure. And one of the few silver linings about breastfeeding both boys was that I could sometimes still read with one hand, so even if I wasn’t sleeping, at least I was reading.) I still read now, but if I’m lucky I average around 2 books a month (I’m not including all the other forms of reading that I do all the time—everything from Facebook to blogs to online articles to magazines to unpublished manuscripts that I’m critiquing.) Since I belong to a book group, and we read one book (almost always a non-genre fiction book) per month, and that accounts for about half my book reading every month. If the stars align I’ll also squeeze in at least one other book each month, sometimes a non-fiction book, sometimes a genre novel. And then every once in awhile I get on a reading tear (usually when I’m on vacation or hooked on a particularly easy-to-blow-through series) and read 2 or 3 non-book group books per month. But that’s still not that many, and it feels like far fewer than I used to read.
So I was doing some math, just for fun, on the way to book group the other night. And the math blew my mind by giving me some actual data to play with. Let me ‘splain. Going with nice round numbers, let’s say I read around 25 books a year. I’m 42 now, so again going for the nice round numbers, let’s say I’m blessed to live another 50 years to the ripe old age of 92 and still able to read books that whole time. (It could happen—my Grandma is 90 and still reading up a storm.) That means, at my current rate of reading, I will be able to read approximately 1,250 more books before I die. (Yes, I know that the older I get, the more “free” time I will probably recoup and be able to use for reading, so it’s very possible that my reading rate will go up as I age. But for the sake of simplicity I am going to ignore that possibility for now. I’m also willfully ignoring the possibility that I will die sooner—or later, God willing—than 92.)