— Caitlín R. Kiernan writer 1964
Context: Basically, I wish I could read the way I used to read. I did not dissect as I read. I simply became immersed in the story and let it sweep me happily along. Now I cannot help but dissect. I try not to, but I do anyway. I cannot help but see "flaws" and all the ways I think I could have done this better. I would suspect that all writers are like this, to one degree or another. Writers are the gods of their universes, and we are never at a loss to suggest how some other god might better run herhisits universe/s. At least, this is true of me. It is one reason I read so much less fiction than I did fifteen years ago. And, actually, stage magic is not a bad metaphor for this problem I now have as a reader. I am precisely like a magician watching another magician's act. I should be suckered in with the rest of the crowd. I passionately desire to have the wool pulled over my eyes. Only it very rarely happens, as I'm too busy figuring out how it's all being done and how I could improve upon it … I just can't help but read it as a novelist. This is, from my perspective, unfortunate. I don't want to know how the trick works. I want to be amazed. I want to be convinced of the magic. But this is what I do. I spend my days gluing words together to try and fool other people. And I can't help but try to see how other writers, especially writers who have found more commercial success than have I, make it work. Sadly, I don't even find the mechanics & theory of fiction writing remotely interesting, which makes this doubly frustrating. It's just a reflex.
(16 January 2007)