Writing Exercise #1

[Note: This is the first of several attempts to make myself write whether I feel like it or not. It’s pretty rough going. Feel free to skip.]

During the late campaign, Sarah Palin showed herself to be a thoroughly undistinguished individual, unfit to be just a heartbeat — or a stroke, or a reoccurance of cancer — away from the presidency. However, I though the Katie Couric interview in which she was unable to state what she read most illuminative.

Not because of what she read, but because she refused to answer the question at all, instead giving a generic non-answer answer.

I am not Sarah Palin. I am more than willing to answer what I read. It’s not at all pretty.

I read the morning San Jose Mercury News, most mornings. I glance at the online edition of the St. Petersburg Times, the best newspaper in America. I, I am abashed to say, devour Entertainment Weekly the day it arrives at our house. I read the good parts (i.e., European politics, science, arts) of the Economist when my husband buys it when he flies places. (Is it just me, or has the Economist gotten much much more conservative in the part five years? Or have I gotten more liberal?) In doctor’s offices I read Smithsonian, Time, or People, depending upon what is available and what sort of mood I am in. At the dentist’s office I read Sports Illustrated, because she is the only office that has an SI subscription. (When I was growing up my father had an ironclad rule: I was never allowed to read SI before he was. Never. I have tried to instill the same ethic regarding the EW in my household and it has failed — someone is always going off with it. I suspect my eldest son.)

Books? What are they? Every once in a while I will read another one of the Anne Perry Thomas Pitt mysteries, although I am pretty much done with them now. I re-read Pride and Prejudice every so often, because one must, if no other reason than to appreciate the expanded role of Colin Firth in the A&E miniseries. It also has one of the best opening lines in all literature.

And Connie Willis. In discussions of Science Fiction I almost always say “The only sf writer I read is Connie Willis.

I also read nonfiction “list books.” These are not books with a thesis and a coherent argument, but collections of disjointed facts centered around one subject. I have a ton of those, and I love reading them. I adore dictionaries and histories of the world.

The vast amount of reading I do is online. Blogs, blogs, and more blogs. LiveJournal. Now Twitter. Not that I comment — except irregularly at Making Light — but just that I vicariously tap into other people’s lives, either on a perrsonal level (LJ and Twitter) or intellectually (everything else).

I keep trying to think if this means I have too little time on my hand or too much, and it constantly amazes me the people who both seem to engage a great deal online *and read* a lot of books (excepting those for whom it is a profession. That I show a certain lack of intellectual rigor.

Methinks I need to work on this.

If for no other reason than it will make it easier to find something to write about.

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