I learned something about myself when I started my sophomore year of college at Millersville University. I enjoyed being athletic and fit, and I enjoyed spending time with my friends, but I did not love field hockey. **gasp** This was a big surprise, because I really thought I did.
I learned this as the fall progressed without me, for the first time in eight years, picking up a hockey stick. I had so many good memories, but what I learned that season was that it wasn't the sport itself I enjoyed. I loved being with my friends, working towards a common goal, fighting together, laughing (and sometimes suffering sunburn) as a team. Oh, and winning. We were pretty awesome, you know...
Don't get me wrong, I LOVED watching the US Field Hockey team play their last game before the Rio Olympics. It's a great sport. But the game would have been weird to watch alone. I was there with my dad and my sisters, rehashing wonderful memories! We could've been cheering for baseball (GO YANKS) or for a group of synchronized mamboing penguins. My point is, what I thought I loved was not what I loved.
What I have learned now that I'm this wildly mature adult version of myself is that I love the social aspects of all things I do. Board games, sports, eating... I love the talking and the story-swapping and the laughing and the "you think that's bad wait until you hear what happened to me" one-up-man-ship of talking with interesting people.
Reading (and writing, I've learned) for me is also very social. Like Stephen King taught me in On Writing, I write better dialogue because I'm an extrovert. I want to talk about my book. I want to Book Club with other people and dialogue about the characters I created. (Yes, I used Book Club as a verb.) I want to hear them laugh and watch them read the sad parts.
Nothing has made me happier than hearing people's comments as they read The Senator's Youngest Daughter. I recently had the privilege of sharing a Facebook messenger dialogue with a friend as she read my novel. She opened the book over a period of days, letting me know what she was thinking and experiencing as she read it. What a glorious, encouraging, treasured experience for me.
I love making people laugh, making people feel something, so to experience her trip through Brenna's story was fabulous. Some of the comments would be enormous spoilers, so I can't relate them all here, but here's a sample of how she made my day:
- I may or may not have neglected every chore I had today in exchange for more time with Brenna.
I can't stop.
Poor [husband] has only seen my forehead sticking out the top for two days lol
I just got goosebumps.
I'm sad it's over. Please write more books.
So no more field hockey for adult me, but hopefully more writing in the future. And I want to talk to you about it: about what you're reading, about what I'm reading, and hopefully, about what you thought while reading what I'm writing.