Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An Anti-Chair Polemic

How do you like to do it?

Read, I mean. When I was a kid, I used to read upside-down. I would lie on my back on my bed, with my book in my hands, and then carefully slide backwards, head first, over the side until the crown of my head touched the floor. Then I would read until my ears started to pound. Why? Um, do teenagers' brains lack oxygen?

I also read while washing the dishes. This was my chore every fourth week, and I hated it. I would prop a book behind the sink, plunge my hands into the suds and wash the dirty plates and greasy pans and sticky forks by feel, not looking away from my book. When I got to a page turn, (which happened every few seconds or so because I was reading like I was slurping fuel) I would do a fast hand-drying swipe on my pants and flip to the next two-page spread. Voila! Books* got read, and forks

I saw a bit of advice recently that suggested that writers should imagine themselves in a comfortable reading place when they are about to compose words. Yeah, I get that. Good advice. If you like chairs.

Where do you like to read? Is that the place you go in your head when you write?

*See: A Simple List of Books, FYOL


  1. Sara, I am SO impressed with your story of being able to read while washing dishes! What a great way to be a teenager and a rebel and a bookworm all at the same time!

    Where do I read? Couch or bed, preferably with a dog next to me. I find the dog part really makes me extra happy. Where do I not read? In my office. That place is for Work, so if I want to read something for pleasure, I feel the need to go elsewhere.

    Besides, if I tried to read in my office, I'd be constantly checking my e-mail every other page, and that would totally kill the fantasy part of immersing myself in a book. So nope, gotta get out of here to go handle that part of my writing life.

  2. I love that multi-tasking story, too.

    I very often anymore (bad grammar, but oh well) have to read lying next to my daughter in bed with a little light and a huge stack of books next to me, since she's a co-sleeper. But I'm not complaining about curling up with my sweet daughter who, when she's 14, may want to have nothing to do with me ;) And she doesn't mind my late-night reading.

  3. I was famous for reading while walking the halls between classes in high school. I never ran into anyone, but maybe they knew to get out of my way! I would also read in any class, during downtime, or during math class when I already knew the concept. I believe the math teacher knew I did this and just allowed my the latitude. Then, of course, I had to read the rest of the chapter while walking to the next class!

    Now, like Robin, I do prefer reading with a dog next to me!

  4. I don't think I ever tried walking the halls and reading, but if I had seen you doing it, I would have run into you just to meet you! :)

  5. Sara, I have a photo from my teen years that someone took while I was reading ... on the sofa ... but with my head and hair hanging off and my feet crossed on the wall above the sofa. So I'm also an upside-down reader!

    At 67, I would probably find that position difficult, especially holding a heavy book up in the air above me like that. Now I enjoy stretching out on my bed to read, with my cat curled up asleep near my feet.

  6. Glad to know I'm not alone, Bonnie. I'd love to see that picture of you!

  7. I'll be back after I write my review of Letters from Rapunzel, which I've just finished reading ... and which is why I was visiting your blog. On the other hand, I read about you somewhere else, came here to read your blog, and got the book AFTER having read some of your posts. Yes, I'd say we are kindred spirits, not only in reading upside down.

    You'd probably like my book blog better than (or at least as well as) my writing blog where you left the message. Bonnie's Books is here:

    Would you like be interviewed as part of my review of your book? If so, email me at
    emerging dot paradigm at yahoo dot com
    and I'll send you a few questions.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.