Thursday, March 27, 2014

Seven Years of Reading Around the World

It's true. I can't believe that I've been documenting my reading, my travels, and my life, here on this blog for seven years today. I remember the workshop where it all began, sponsored by the Southwest Florida Library Network. I even remember several of the other students in the class. To my knowledge, none of them kept up the blog that they created that day.

Frankly, there are times when I think it's time to give it up, move on to some other mode of expression, but writing is addictive. The more often you do it, the more often you want to. My biggest disappointment has been my failure to find an interactive audience. I know you're out there. You're reading. I can see you through my statistical analysis "site meter." Are you shy? Reluctant to hit the "comment" button? I follow many blogs that knock me out, yet I too, hesitate to engage. Are we just lazy or do we think that our opinions don't matter. Say it isn't so.

I've been thoroughly enjoying this first winter of retirement by auditing a journalism class at Florida Gulf Coast University called "Writing for a Mass Audience." I've picked up so many tips by listening and observing. It has been a fantastic experience. The 20-somethings don't just tolerate me, they actually seem to like me, they really like me. They're always willing to give me tech tips, how to download the newest Twitter app to Don's ipad so that I can tweet photos, how to tweet from my old-fashioned flip phone, how to record sound bites, etc.

The class is using William Zinsser's "On Writing Well" as a reference. I reread Chapter 5 when I feel like it's time to throw in the towel.

"Who am I writing for?" he asks us. The answer is simple.

"You are writing for yourself. Don't try to visualize the great mass audience. There is no such audience - every reader is a different person.....You are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for."

That would be you, people, and I do so much enjoy it. Therefore, I'll plunge joyfully into year eight of reading around the world, knowing that I can't possibly tell you about all the books that I devour ( 27 since the first of the year) and won't tell you about the ones I judge not worth sharing.

Next up will likely be the absolutely insane novel that I'm reading now. If you are familiar with the outrageously good, truly evil mind of Herman Koch and his novel "The Dinner," then you can imagine what his second book might be like. I managed to snag an advanced copy from the folks at Edelweiss Online Books and am reading as fast as I can. Give me another couple of days and, oh yes, thanks so much for hanging out with me all these years.


Gloria Drake said...

Just recently discovered your blog. Your posts are thorough and thoughtful. Have enjoyed sifting through your previous posts. Glad you are keeping it up. -Gloria near Chicago

Sallyb said...

Oh Gloria, How lovely of you to comment. I'm so glad that you've found me and that you're having some fun going back through the years. Perhaps you'll find a great book recommendation. Thank you.

Rebecca said...

Yes, we are out there! Though since I have long days at work, I only read guaranteed happily-ever-after books right now. Someday I will go back to grown-up reading.

Sallyb said...

Ha, Ha, Rebecca, Too funny. I'm so sorry that you're looking for happy endings right now. I'm such a dark reader, aren't I? I'll see what I can do to find you a happy book. Thanks for the reply.

Nicole said...

Catching up on my blog reading, sorry for a reply four months later! Just wanted to throw in my two cents. I found your blog about a year and a half ago and have enjoyed following it ever since. You're always so insightful and have turned me on to so many great reads. Keep up the good work!