A friend of mine, author Sunni Jeffers, came across an interesting post that linked positive thinking to reading. Being an avid reader myself, it naturally made me wonder if I’m in a generally better frame of mind when I’m immersed in a book—either reading or writing one.
The answer to that is an absolute yes. The only thing that annoys me when I’m reading a good book is an interruption keeping me from reading that good book.
And when I’m writing a book, once the plot and characters have caught me and start acting everything out for me to record—well, there’s just nothing better. Those are the days I can’t help but walk around with a smile on my face. I feel like I was wired to write, and those kind of days just prove it.
The article talks about how the things we experience via reading can not only entertain and educate, but expand our experience level and give us more compassion. I absolutely believe this. A few years ago I wrote a story about a woman who is the mom to a severely handicapped child. Because of some especially challenging circumstances in her life, in one desperate attempt to end her life and her child’s, she attempted a murder/suicide. Not something I could imagine doing, or even sympathize.
Until I got inside the head of a woman desperate enough to do such a thing. Since that book, My Sister Dilly, is inspired by a true story, I had the opportunity to speak to a woman who’d been through such a horrific experience. Through her, I understood a least a little of what such a thing might have been like. And it gave me more compassion. I’ve heard from several readers that it did the same for them. It was even possible for me to maintain a positive attitude about a subject that, at least on the surface, might have been a downer.
So can reading improve our life? Our mood? Our attitude? What do you think?