Reading. Writing. Keep on truckin’.

I’m a writer. Before I even knew what a literary agent did, how to write a query letter, the ins and outs of the publishing industry, I was inspired to put pen to paper (yes, I actually used to put pen to paper!) and write. I wrote poetry, some memoir pieces, non-fiction for medical journals, and finally fiction. I couldn’t help myself. It just happened.

I’m a pretty funny person in person, but not a lot of my writing is funny. It’s all pretty serious, except this blog, which is hysterical, don’t you think? I don’t like feeling scared and I never go to scary movies or read scary things (besides the New York Times) so I doubt I will ever try my hand at horror writing. I have written some pretty sexy scenes though, in a couple of my manuscripts, which just made me blush thinking about them.  I like writing about minute details in minute detail. I have a 15 page short story all about a woman making coffee in the morning.  The characters in my fiction are usually weird in some way, even if that weirdness shows up as more normal than normal. My poetry is all autobiographical and my memoir pieces read like fiction.  I doubt I will ever write anything where I create a brand new world on another planet or in another dimension. But you never know.

I’m a reader. When I was a girl I wanted to be Jo March or Heidi or Laura Ingalls. Now I like to read Zadie Smith, Geraldine Brooks and J.K. Rowling. I wish I was half as good a writer as Amy Tan, Barbara Kingsolver or Kurt Vonnegut. Patricia Polacco makes me cry with almost every book. I’ve read all of D.H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and J.D. Salinger. I’ve read Charlotte and Emily but not Anne Bronte. I’ve never read Moby Dick. I rarely read poetry any more, but I used to love William Carlos Williams. I’ve read Dune so many times my mouth gets dry just thinking about it. I love Kevin Henkes and would marry him if we weren’t both already married. I read a great biography of Eleanor Roosevelt once. I read 10+ Anne Rice books, including the erotica. I think John Green is really cool, for a boy, and I’d like to have drinks with Libba Bray one day. I didn’t think Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom was one word too long and I want to go to the Channel Islands (UK not CA) because of Margaret Leroy’s The Soldier’s Wife. I don’t have a favorite author, a favorite book, a favorite movie or a favorite song.

So you write literary fiction? Romance? Memoir? Science Fiction? Really scary horror? You like to read fantasy? You live for the next vampire/demon/angel/selkie story? You would never read _____ (fill in the blank). You always read ______(fill in that blank, too). You’re a Christian writer, a lesbian writer, a writer of color? All of the above? Alright. It’s all good. Keep on truckin’.

Do you write in one particular genre? Why? What do you read? Are you a snob about any of it?


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25 responses to “Reading. Writing. Keep on truckin’.

  1. Stefanie Lipsey

    Hi Linda! You are funny in person and on this blog. I’m sure your fiction and memoir has much more humor than you imagine.

    Thank you for asking about what we write. I love to write on paper, on my computer, on legal pads, and in my journal. I love to write nonfiction that inspires others to write, fiction that’s too close to the truth, and poetry that makes me never want to share another word. I love to write during my lunch break at the school library where I work by day encouraging children to write. I love to read literary fiction and back issues of Yoga Journal. And of course, poetry. Lots and lots of contemporary poetry. Why don’t more people read poetry? It’s sooooo good.

    • I did recently read a little Baudelaire, in translation, of course. It was like reading the anti-Whitman… Walt wearing all black with a sinister mustache and dark eyebrows painted on. A smart, French professor friend of mine mentioned the eros/thanatos dichotomy (who knew?!) and for just one moment I was lifted out of my lowly American education. I can assure you though, my own fiction is pretty on that thanatos side. I’m much funnier in person than I am on paper.

  2. What a really great post on your reading and writing. I enjoyed reading it.

    I write YA/MG sci/fi and fantasy. (light sci/fi) 🙂 I also read mostly in that genre. I love going to new and different worlds and creating them too. Even though some of the worlds may be mostly like ours, just different rules. 🙂

  3. I write middle grade fiction and romantic suspense. But I love to read historical and contemporary romance, thrillers, mystery, spiritual books, books written by and about Indian and Asian life (Jhumpa Lahiri, Amy Tan). I love any book that will make me think, laugh, or push me to be a better writer.

    It took me a long time to start reading the Harry Potter books. I thought it would not live up to the hype, but then. . . then Harry, Hogwarts and Butterbear sucked me in.

  4. vano

    I started writing was when I was a teen and it was basically angst ridden poetry. As I grew up I ventured away from writing and began a career as a starving artist. Three years ago I experienced what I refer to as my awakening which encouraged the writer hidden deep within to emerge once again, but with a new genre. A year after my awakening I began the manuscript which I am still working on today. In addition to writing from a spiritual perspective, I enjoy reading anything that resonates such as ancient spiritual texts( Bhagavad Gita, The Tao Te Ching)as well as contemporary teachings (Eckhart Tolle…) In the beginning I preferred reading fiction, poetry… (Sartre, Chekov) with emphasis on anything dark; vampires were my thing. I’m not as much into any of that now, but if it speaks to me in some way, I might still be interested. I have a Sci-fi novel idea in my head, but don’t know if I’d ever really go in that direction unless perhaps I treated it as a spiritual parable.

  5. Rereading Island of the Blue Dolphins right now. I like it more as an adult. Waiting for Jim Northrup’s Anishinaabe Syndicated to arrive.

    Linda, I have to get this off my chest: I haven’t read any Harry Potter. I got through a few pages several years ago and that was it. I just really, really prefer realistic fiction. Am I fired from your life?

  6. I have written: poetry, short stories with literary aspirations, picture books and easy readers, book reviews, personal essays, newspaper features, a sex/love advice column, all sorts of stuff for political candidates, advertising copy for a house painter, press releases for non-profits, sermons, blog posts, and a “literary” novel. Call me diversified. Or scattered.

  7. I write nonfiction articles, literary short stories and novels for adults and teens that I’m told are literary–I’ve always shied away from that label for fear that it’s snobby. Right now I’m reading three books (I choose depending on my mood): Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose, The Sisters by Nancy Jensen and The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. My magazine rack is filled with gardening, cooking and home magazines as well as a couple of New Yorkers.

  8. Fantasy writer here. Lovin’ the stuff. I write it because it’s a very versatile genre, and can be just about anything you want it to be, political/moral commentary, or just good rolicking fun. I read lots of things, but generally Fantasy.

  9. I definitely write almost entirely contemporary fiction, mostly YA. I read all sorts of things, but like you, I’m not sure I’m much of a world/universe builder. I don’t think I’m a snob, though I do avoid certain genres because of personal taste (Christian fiction cause I’m not Christian for example).

    • I’m not Christian either. But I’m not a wizard and I love the Harry Potter books… just saying…

      • True enough! I actually read plenty of books with religious themes of all types, I like C.S. Lewis for example. I probably should have been more specific in my original comment, I was referring to the conservative Christian romance novels, they have a huge audience I’m just not one of them 🙂

  10. I live for the next vampire, angel story. Cant help, but love the vampire thing to a point. 🙂 Cant get into the other world thing, but have to have some mystical, special power element. Who wants to read about Susie the normal, average person? not me.