You have got to read. Read everything you can. Everything that sparks a modicum of interest in you about your fellow man. Read the things you love to talk about, the things that give you zen. Read things that don’t agree with you and won’t be read again. Read books that want to show you a different point of view. Read books that don’t give you the truth, but maybe just a clue. Read some trashy and romantic books till your dirty secret is out. Read the top ten in the bookstore to see what the fuss is about. Critique and destroy them till they are flogged and completely dead. Make connections between them and the best book you ever read. Don’t believe that success means its some great artist’s strife, read the book sat in the corner that connects to your life. Read books that are outside of your normal sphere, read them before they disappear. Read poetry, biographies and definitely short stories. Read old books and new books, read vanilla and gory. Read Shakespeare. Read it again. Read it till you can quoth and borrow. Read the past, read the future, read today, read tomorrow
Read aloud to yourself and your kid. Read even if at school you never really did. Read around the campfire, read in the rain, on the train station, read outside your lane. Read poems on the underground and flash fiction in the thunder. Read just because it might make you wonder.
Read about the worst and the best of people. Eat their words till you’ve got paunches. Make them eat their words when you meet them at book launches. Tell them how you loved their last book and really hate the new one, tell them it was terrible but do it with construction. Enjoy the privilege of reading all that you can, because the first thing they do to oppress you is introduce a reading ban. If you have no means to educate yourself you have no means to fight. You will not know any better and you cannot get it right. Hide books under your bedclothes and read them by the torch. Read the soggy books you accidentally left upon the porch. Hide rock hammers in your books in case you need to escape. Read paper books and plastic ones, and those involving crepe. Allow all that you have read to give you space in your own mind. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s pointless, all the things you’re bound to find. Read about the world, read everything beyond its scope. Be your own teacher, be yourself be well read in every trope. For your children and your parents and anyone related. Read to lovers, your friends, their brothers and the belated. To read is a deed to be done at speed or pace it slow as you like. Do not read on a bike. Read to your dog so it can tilt its head, read to your cat, your gerbil, read about the dead. Read to the postman even if it’s just your leccy bill, read to your tomato plants the sycophants, you can even read at Will. Read to your betters and your worses, read prose, and blank verses. Read of incantations, subjugations, and especially read curses. Read what you can get your hands on, read until you’re done and then maybe you’ll stop reading books and instead, start writing one.