“In a society that promotes conformity; novel-reading – one person experiencing both the mind of another person and her own mind experiencing – is a subversive force.” ~ Jane Smiley, from “13 Ways of Looking at the Novel.”
The above is a passage I’ve been ruminating about for about 13 days now. Ms. Smiley’s book is my bathroom book. What? You don’t’ have a bathroom book? Heck, I’ve got a book in every room in my home, another in my car, always one in my purse, and both my desks host a book of their own, as well.
Regardless, I’ve been reading 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel” for more than a year now. I repeatedly reread sections and focus meditation on the ideas within it. The idea in the quote above really has penetrated me as not only a reader, but as a writer, too. In short, being a novel reader is being a rebel. As a writer, I am the supply chain for these intellectual societal rebels.
That is so effing cool! I just can’t stop thinking about it. It makes me think back to when I was in the Army and I was assigned to the United Nations Protection Force in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Part of our mission was simply monitoring the border, reporting on activity and looking out for smugglers along the border between FYROM and Serbia. Those of us watching saw a lot of barrels of oil and probably bullets go over that border on the backs of donkeys. It was the rebels supply chain. My writing is just like those oil barrels. I just need a donkey to take the supplies to the rebel bases.
When I switch my hat to reader-only, I have to smile still at that statement by Ms. Smiley. Imagine an army of authors feeding into your rebellion. Such thoughts are complete enablers to my bibliophile tendencies.
Is it any wonder that the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword” (or RPG, for that matter) is so elegantly true?
Course that begs the question, why aren’t’ more teenagers reading books? I think I need a bumper sticker: “Be A Rebel! Read A Book!”
But first I need to figure out where my donkey is.