Nov. 6, 2014

What is a Reflective Reader? [Click here to comment]

I don’t know either.

Whatever they are, I’m not sure there are many left. But this quote from Michael Cunningham started me thinking about it (yet again).

“I remember thinking, Hey, she was doing with language something like what Jimi Hendrix does with a guitar. Mrs. Dalloway made me into a reader, and it was only a matter of time until I became a writer.'" WA 6 Nov 2014.

I wish I could say that. I do know what he means, I’ve had the same feeling, but writing like that? It’s an altogether different ballgame. I’m pretty sure that people addicted to 140-character-messages are not the reader he has in mind.

One of my favorite contemporary writers is Jim Harrison. Lots of people await his books; fewer know him as a poet. And poetry is the language ballgame. Whenever I lack for inspiration, I return to that well. His series of poems entitled, “The River[1],” provided the imagery I used in my short story of the same name. A quote from, “Mapman[2],” establishes the tone for my new novel, El Peon (in revision).

I think the reader I’m looking for wants to find characters that live and struggle like all of us. But I’m afraid she also wants Jimi Hendrix language to describe them.

I hope it’s a learnable talent.


[1]  Jim Harrison, Songs of Unreason, Copper Canyon Press. (Buy here).

[2] Jim Harrison, In Search of Small Gods, Copper Canyon Press. (Buy here).