Reading and Writing Are Hard (In a Good Way)

Kurt Vonnegut said something to effect of reading is hard. I think he meant that reading well, like actively listening to a person when they speak, is a skill which requires practice. Picking up words from a page to pass the time, is different from using a story to loop onto some new part of yourself you weren’t quite grasping before.

For me, it comes down to this question of, what do you have in a story? Entertainment? Sure, but you’ve also got a year, or several years of an author’s life in front of you. Reading and writing are hard, and nothing which takes so much time and effort should be taken lightly, by either party.

That said, we should enjoy reading and writing as entertainment in all its forms — books, essays, comics, short stories, and we should acknowledge the skill involved in understanding what we read and write.

A story is an idea an author thinks is important enough to risk at least some potential financial ruin on, as well as a considerable degree of neck and back strain. If you’re Stephen King, those ideas are often, Hey, here’s a grizzly, fucked-up but ultimately human part of the world you haven’t thought about in a while. Why don’t we explore it together? If you’re Philip K. Dick, it’s, Me and people I love have been affected badly by some of the most destructive things in the world, and these stories are my way of finding peace for us all. Don’t make the same mistakes. 

If you can read, you're lucky. If you can write, you’re doubly lucky. If you can do either or both, and enjoy it, you’re the luckiest of all.