Following on from my last post where I discussed the need to write in order to bring “the axe to the frozen sea inside”, Kafka’s words also resonated with me in terms of what the act of reading can do. Not only is writing a way for writers to get relief but the resulting project is also a balm for the reader. One of the greatest things about reading is being able to build a unique picture in our own minds from the words of someone else and build a mutual understanding. Modern great novels will not tell you what the moral is and unlike the classics they draw upon our own sensibilities and conditioning to make us examine the characters,. Somehow by reliving the characters joys and frustrations we too are able to learn something.
I remember reading a novel about 2 years ago about a young woman who lost her husband only a couple of months after marriage to cancer and she took up baking as a sort of release. By dedicating her time and energy to baking she was able to turn her grief to another activity that kept her occupied but more than that became a means of survival. I identified with the character because I had just been through a loss but turned to reading and writing as a coping mechanism.
I don’t think I will ever get over how amazing it is to unite with someone by reading their words.