Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gina Frangello, On Reading

"I am among the contingent to whom reading was like a road map to other possibilities, other futures. Like most people in the world, I come from an insular place--in my case among the urban poor, in a homogeneous Italian neighborhood of Chicago circa the 70s and 80s--where there seemed to be one way of doing things, one future offered, especially to girls. Reading was the secret fire that promised this was not so: that there were as many ways, as many potential adventures and choices as there were books on the shelves of a library. I read for all the usual reasons: I was an only child and often alone, longing for entertainment and company; I wanted to escape my environment; I wanted to feel the sort of profound emotional and psychological understanding that so often eludes children in real life, yet can be found on the pages of a novel. Yet while it sounds strange, although I have also written fiction for as long as I could read, I never read 'because I wanted to be a writer.' I tell my students constantly that in order to write, you must read passionately. But in truth, there are so many other reasons to read that this should be a redundant thing to tell any writer. Reading is an eternal dialogue with the rest of humanity; we read because it enriches us as human beings on every possible level. The fact that it also benefits our own writing is profoundly true, yet seems to me quite secondary as a motive."

Gina Frangello is the author of the short story collection Slut Lullabies (Emergency Press 2010) and the novel My Sister's Continent (Chiasmus 2006), as well as the Executive Editor of the independent press Other Voices Books and fiction editor of the popular online literary collective The Nervous Breakdown. She has contributed nonfiction, book reviews and journalism to such publications as the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post and the Chicago Reader. Her novel, London Calling, will be released next year, and she can be found online here.}

1 comment:

  1. I've always had a hard time articulating why it was that I loved to read so much and continue to love to do so but you state this so well. Reading is about finding new places outside of yourself and about understanding things about yourself you didn't know were even there :)