Happy Valentine’s Day to those who observe, as the saying goes. This is the time of year that libraries invite romance authors to speak to reader groups, and I had that privilege at the Howard County library in Ellicott City, MD, recently. When I give my library talks, I start off with a list of ways that we benefit from reading. Even a quick google search will generate something like the following…
Reading delays the onset of Alzheimers and dementia.
Reading improves memory.
Reading stabilizes mood.
Reading reduces stress and the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Reading improves the quality of sleep.
Reading strengthens analytical skills.
Reading improves focus and attention.
Reading (especially fiction) improves empathy and tolerance.
And here, you thought you were merely entertaining yourself for a few hours. If you tried to find prescription medication that did all of the above, it would probably cost a bundle and have some peculiar side effects.
One of the surprises in store for me when I became a published author was how LOVELY my readers are. Yes, there are a few folks who delight in playing Get the Author, or firing off snarky one-star reviews in all directions, but the overwhelming, vast, staggering majority of readers are delightful folks.
Lawyers are not like readers, competitive equestrians are not like readers, musicians are not like readers (in my experience). This might be why every librarian I’ve met has been lovely–because they spend their days with readers, or trying to help people become readers.
Then there’s writing, especially “expressive writing.” The benefits of writing include… faster healing of wounds, lower blood pressure, resolution of trauma, better sleep, better memory, higher liver function (yep), and better immune function.
When I sat down to write my first novel, I never in a zillion years dreamed I was embarking on something that would be good for me, or would result in a product that’s good for you. What a delight, to realize a little bit of the happily ever after isn’t just for the characters, it’s for us too–author and readers, together.
If that’s not a Valentine’s Day sentiment, I don’t know what is.
What do you do that’s both fun and good for you? Fun and benefits others? What would you LIKE to do that’s fun and beneficial?
To one commenter, I’ll send a copy of The Virtuoso, ’cause, Valentine, ya know.