When reading becomes a film in your mind

I was on a boat in Laos, we were travelling by this teeny river boat and would be for an entire day. It was so hot and humid that every piece of clothing stuck to me and there was nothing to do.

One of the people in the group I was travelling with had been reading ‘The Martian’ (yes, the one that became a Matt Damon movie) and I had been closely watching where his bookmark was, intending to ask to read it when he had finished… However, I had finished all my books and I had a day to kill. So I asked to borrow it, telling him that I could give it back him by that evening with the amount of free time we had until then. On reflection, sounds like a braggy awful thing to say but I was really bored, it looked interesting and I was also telling the truth.

Later that day during lunch, he asked how far I had gotten and expressed his inability to understand how I could read all day like that without getting bored. He is dyslexic and for him this meant reading takes real effort and dedication, which sparked an interesting conversation. I explained that when I’m reading, especially for long, uninterrupted periods of time, I don’t really see the words. I’m not reading, I’m watching the movie in my head (FYI The Martian is one of the few books where the movie in my head, matched pretty closely with the film). I can totally zone in on the page and the rest of the world can wink out of existence.

For me, reading is as easy as breathing.

This, arguably, rather detracts from how impressive it is that I can read quickly- would I have developed that skill without it being so easy? The thing is, I know people ‘picture it in their head’ and that’s nothing special but I never realised how much I had taken for granted the way I feel when reading, until I saw his face when I was describing it. He had to concentrate on what he was reading, concentrate on the words, it’s very hard to zone out when you’re doing that. Kudos to anyone who reads, in any capacity (I.e buzzfeed, comics, newspapers, books – whatever), when you have to work at it like that, I’m not sure I’d have the discipline.

For me, words flow like the river upon which I had this discussion; swift and smooth. I grew up with parents who were capable of getting lost in a book. Every bedtime was accompanied by a story, even after they no longer had to read it to me. To the point where I cannot sleep without reading a little bit first. I love that I get to watch a movie in my head from the stories of others; I wish that it was something every person could experience and not just because being a book nerd makes up about 40% of my personality…

Anyway, I am done nerding out about being a nerd. —->

Watch out for a follow up post about writing fairy land.

Don’t forget to like this post and follow for the chance to read more focused posts than this this rambling whimsical mess!

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