A Reader’s perspective on how to read
I was recently told that I read with my heart. I’m not sure if I was offended by that statement or not. Would you be if you told that you read with your heart? I mean my sister always told me that I wore my heart on my sleeve every time one of my girlfriends broke up with me but does that really translate into the type of reader I am? Wouldn’t it be better to be told, you are a smart reader, or I really appreciate how detail oriented you are, or even you are a thoughtful reader? But you read with your heart? What does that mean??? I’m so confused! Doesn’t everyone read and get involved in the story? I think our lesfic authors do an amazing job of creating believable characters, one’s with whom I can easily relate. So I guess when they felt emotions and experienced life’s ups and downs I didn’t think that was unusual or special. I thought that was normal.
Communicating about our amazing lesfic authors, I think, is incredibly important. That is why I try to leave a review for stories that I have truly enjoyed and appreciated. Even if you don’t think you are a writer or can express yourself well with the written word, I think making it known somehow is such a small gift compared to the huge gift our authors are giving us with each story they write. A post on FaceBook with something like, “Just finished this story by [fill in the blank] and it was awesome!” Everyone knows what awesome is and I’m sure an author would not be hurt by seeing that on someone’s post. Or even going so far as to email the author or message them and say thank you. I’ve tried to do that a couple of times. I sent a message to Diane Marina after reading her story How Still My Love and saying, “I seriously want to climb into the book and try to understand why someone like Ricki would make a play for someone in a committed relationship and then just kick her butt.” And it was true! That Ricki character was such a jerk and needed a serious butt kicking. Not that I would do that, but I would find someone who could dang it!
I was lucky enough to have an electronic conversation with Cate Culpepper in regards to her writing after I finished her A Question of Ghosts that went along the lines of, “Am I going to get scared with Windigo Thrall? Reading a blurb it sounded like someone was possessed and trying to kill her lover. Not as scary as ghosts, but I could see the potential for me to be sleeping with the lights on again!!” Granted I am a practicing scardey cat and there was definitely a certain spookiness about Cate’s stories that freaked me out! Same with Linda Kay Silva’s Man Eaters, “Holy Cow Batman! I couldn’t sleep last night thanks to your zombie story!! I started it yesterday since Kim was coming home and she could protect me, but I was still jumping at every sound!! Awesome story telling so far! (lots of shivers though!!)” But that’s just normal reactions to crazy creepy stories. Right? That’s not me reading with my heart is it?
Or when I wrote to Amy Dawson Roberts after reading her second Rennie story, Scapegoat and telling her, “I do have to admit that I was a little peeved with you with the condition that Rennie was in when the reader first met up with her again. I kept thinking, I loved Rennie’s strength and here you have her being an out of shape drunk!” That was just being honest. I mean Rennie was a totally kick ass character and then she wasn’t. Hmpf! Is being peeved reading with the heart though? That would be like when I wrote about Ann McMan’s Bottle Rocket, “Ann McMan has a true talent of writing comedy and I appreciated it while laughing at the restaurant, waiting for class to start, on the bus, and all those other places where people just ended up staring at me thinking I was a crazy laughing lady!” was reading from the heart. That doesn’t make sense does it?
I just like to relate to the characters. Sometimes they scare the crap out of me, sometimes they make me laugh until I cry, sometimes they make me want to punch them in their face, and sometimes they make my heart hurt. Is that it? Is that the reading from the heart? Does anyone else read this way? Is it a good thing do you think? What characters or lesfic stories get your heart involved?