It’s Okay If You Don’t Like To Read
By: Rock Kitaro
Date: October 29, 2013
It’s okay if you don’t like to read. More specifically, its okay if you don’t want to read my work.
As I get further and further ahead in my writing career, more and more I’m bumping into friends and acquaintances who hear of what I’m doing, and wear a look of shame. They usually begin to say things like:
“Ah man, I’ve been meaning to get around to reading that.”
“Dude, there’s not enough time in the world.”
“Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me of that. I’ve been meaning to buy your book.”
“I’m in the middle of it, but things keep popping up that keep me from finishing it.”
Etc. etc. etc.
With a light-hearted smile on my face, I want to tell them that it’s okay if they simple have no interest in reading my work. I didn’t start writing to burden my friends and acquaintances by adding yet another thing that I’m expecting them to do.
Besides, putting myself in their shoes, I know that my style of writing or subject matter might not appeal to them. I don’t write with a focus on prose or clever wordplay. I’m a story-teller who writes clearly and direct as if I’m speaking to you personally. Some people don’t like this. Some people like reading the literary and poetic arrangement of words more so than the story, however pretentious and pointless it may sound.
And if I do write about something that catches your interest and you start reading and get too distracted by something else to want to continue on…Then I take responsibility for that. All that means is that my story wasn’t interesting enough to keep you coming back for more and I need to step up my game. Hmph…and that’s fine. I’ll accept the challenge. All that means is that I have to be more provocative and engaging, connecting with my reader so much to the point that my words hook into their brains, refusing to let them go.
I think it has a lot to do with maturity as an artist. Because I’ll admit, at one time I really did get bothered when the people close to me showed no interest in my craft. I began to ask myself… “What’s the point of having a friend if they can’t help you on your path.
I’m not sure if that’s a selfish way to see friends or not… To be honest, I just simply got tired of depending on individual human beings as a source of happiness, friend or not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that friends don’t make me happy. I’m saying that I simply stopped “depending” on them. Because depending, or expecting them to do something for me led to disappointment. And if you’re let down too many times… I think if you’re strong enough, mature enough…You simply begin to just move on. Your heart turns cold to that sort of thing.
Allow me to give you a couple of examples.
When I was 21, I spent a whole year away from my parents due to school and work in another state. So much happened to me that year, so I chronologized it in an 18-page memoir. Then, I sent it off to my mother.
I tell you…For a whole year, my mother sat on that memoir and never got around to reading it. She used to give me crap when I reminded her about it every other month. It hurt because if my son or daughter was gone for a whole year without me knowing what was happening in their lives, I’d be thrilled to read what they had to say about it. But my mother wasn’t.
Then, finally in that twelfth month, I had to threaten to stop talking to her unless she read it. And when she did read it…she sent the memoir back to me with proofread marks about typos. It was a heartbreaking moment in my path as a writer. In her defense, I did use some profanity in that document back then. The swears weren’t directed to her, and I’m not the type who curses all the time, but only to add emphasis to a particular situation.
Then when I was twenty-five, I wrote my first novel and was in the process of having it published. I talked to my older brother about my goals and aspirations and tried to tell him what it was about. And he just had a very apathetic enthusiasm for it. After I confronted him about this, he told me… “Rock, you can’t expect other people to care about your writing as much as you do.
It hurt to go through those moments…But I’m glad to have gone through em. Because my brother was right. Who was I to dictate how my friends and family should prioritize their interests. And in a sense it was a bit hypocritical of me. Forgive me for not elaborating on why it was hypocritical, that’s for another essay.
And I know that the so-called “real world” is so much crueler, but to be honest…I really could care less about what the most influential critics in the world have to say about my work. If a critic who had the power to influence millions to buy my book said my work was terrible, I honestly don’t believe that it would affect me as much as what my loved ones thought of it.
Takes me back to when I was a teen and my mom used to say, “Rock, if you can’t take your brothers making fun of you, what makes you think you can make it in the real world when everyone else is talking about you.”
And back then, like now, I’d shook my head with doubt and disbelief. “It hurts more when it’s the people you love who look down on you.”
I don’t know. Maybe that opinion will change as I continue to grow. But it hasn’t changed since I was fourteen so…
So yeah! If you have no interest in reading my work or reading in general. Then I say, don’t worry about it. This isn’t anything to be ashamed or feel guilty about. In my line of work, I run into fellow authors all the time. They all have works that they tell me about and how it’s available. And while I do pay for their book in a way to support them, I don’t read their works. And there are several reason’s why.
- I don’t have time to read their works. Most of the reading I engage in is research. Reading about real events, current events and biographies are key to improving the depth of my writing. When I quit my two jobs and can afford to focus solely on writing…then maybe I’ll give it a shot.
- I don’t want to see my colleagues as rivals. I’m talking about my colleagues who I have to see on a daily basis. I’m naturally the competitive type, so if I read your works and think that your writing is better than me, then I’ll instinctively see you as an enemy who I have to surpass. This is something I need to work on. Because it really doesn’t matter how nice or cute you are. This isn’t to say that I don’t like competition, because I do. But I don’t like how I treat my enemies. I wish I was different in that facet.
- I don’t want to accidentally copy ANYTHING! I went to a film school where my fellow alumni believed that everything that could be created in a story, has been created. In the debates it was always me against them, because obviously I disagreed. So originality is important to me. Yeah, I don’t mind being influenced by other writers, but I have my own style and don’t want to slip into copying the way anyone else writes.
So there you have it. Hmm…I wonder. Is my writing this essay pointless? Because theoretically, if you’re my intended target for my writing this, then chances are you’re not even reading this. Aigoo…Hahaha! It’s all good. Just another day in the life of Rock Kitaro, right?