When I read, I want to feel like I’m being introduced to new ideas and concepts: but not that I’m banged on the head with people’s opinions. There should be a mix of new information and things I think are universally true about human experience. I was inspired in middle school when we read Lord Of The Flies, and The Giver. I like fiction that makes a statement. My favorite class in high-school was something everyone was required to take in junior year called “American Studies”. It was English and social studies combined into one. We got to read some of the best works of american fiction, each with a very sociopolitical twist. My favorite works from the class were The Crucible, A Streetcar named Desire, and the best book I’ve ever read: The Great Gatsby.
But there was always one big problem: A lot of people didn’t get it. And yeah, I’m going to brag here and say that I usually figured it out first, or somewhere near first, but sometimes I got it wrong. Sometimes I’d get some hair-brained idea in my head and just stick with it until after the assignment was over. I think it was those experiences in middle-school and high-school that made me the reader and writer I am today. There was always some sort of psychological reward of praise for being the best at something I’m naturally geared towards: reading between the lines, and thinking in an abstract and philosophical way about life and the human condition.Sometimes you’re reading, and you’re thinking: This is fun, I like it, but what does it really mean? If you feel that way, my advice is to look up the author’s life and background. If you’re ever lucky enough to study deconstructionism and postmodernism, you’ll learn that this type of autobiographical reading is pointless and mired in logical fallacies: the writer gives away their words to the reader as soon as their fingers hit the keyboard and the letters land on the page. Once you write something down, you no longer own it. Sorry buddy: you’re wide open to any interpretation someone wants to put on you, and the strength of the argument dictates the strength of the reader’s new interpretation. This is what I believe now.
My goal as an author is to make you question yourself, what you believe, and the nature of your experience. We sometimes call the books I’ve been talking about ‘Literary Fiction’, but really any good book, short story, movie, or play is doing the same thing. When I’m reading something really good I don’t even feel myself disappear. Some part of ‘me’ that’s the ‘me’ i carry around with me everywhere I go, always questioning and never shuts the fuck up for two seconds is finally gone, and I can just cut myself open and feel the blood of another person’s mind flowing through my veins and become me. That’s why I read, and that’s why I write.