Sam I am what I yam

I recently read a blog post by a non-reader who admitted he didn’t like reading and then gave several reasons why. After I read it, I didn’t feel at all defensive, but sympathetic instead. I often have trouble reading and sometimes it takes me 10 reads before I comprehend a single page. I also often just don’t care about what I’m reading, regardless of how well it’s written or how riveting others find it. Different strokes, of course.

At the end of the post, I felt challenged. And apparently, so did everyone else who read it, because they proceeded to give the author a list of books he should try. Even I tried to defend reading, by suggesting that it was writers’ fault for not making their work interesting enough (I don’t have ADD; they’re all just really boring). After several more attempts by commenters, I began to feel like I was reading Green Eggs and Ham (I do not like them by Orwell. I do not like books, can’t you tell?).

So I got to thinking about my own taste as a reader. Most of the time I do find it difficult to get into a book/story, but I don’t think that makes me a non-reader, because there are (albeit, rare) other times when I love them. The real question here is: what does this mean for my future as a writer? Can you imagine a producer who hates most music or a painter who hates most visions? Eek! This could be a really bad sign.

But here’s the thing: I write the way I like to read. Sure, maybe not everyone likes to read the same stuff I do, but if I can entertain my disinterested self, then maybe there’s a shot I can entertain someone else. Basically what I’m saying is that I’m a hard sell, so if I’m selling it, it better be damn good. This brings me back to challenged. When I begin writing, I assume that the reader doesn’t care, and it’s my job to make them. Maybe that’s demonstrative of the downfall of our society, or maybe it just means I’d rather be interesting than right. Either way, I yam what I yam and I like what I like.

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Interview

Ellis Jackson interviewed me on his blog. I wanted to come off as level-headed and realistic. Overall, I think I nailed it:

“I assumed my book would change literature and revive mass interest in poetry. It would be the first eBook of contemporary poetry to go viral. Critics would argue about its place in the “Best New” and “Worst Ever” lists, but everyone would agree that it was a huge step for modern poetry.”