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November 05, 2013


Cassandra Clarke-Belgrave

Reading is an activity that requires settings for me. There are readings for standing in a line, waiting at an airport, lying in bed or riding in the car with my husband. A good friend suggested having a stack of books to re-read when you're not feeling well...this has served me well over the years and lets me get the the most out of well loved stories. Back in the day (of course when I was young and beautiful) I would call in sick to stay home in bed to read an anticipated new book...it was my version of attending a world premiere, lol. Reading is my television...and Mr. Styron is absolutely correct: sometimes I am exhausted at the end.

Robert McDowell

My top five picks for reading verbs (books) is pretty similar to Andrea's, though I'd swap Poetry for business (perhaps Andrea is thinking of poetry when she writes creativity). My verbs would include kiss, sing, dance, act, fly.

The Verb in writing takes hold of us like Francis's impulse to kiss the leper. In a transforming moment, the young cleric is overcome by fear and love, but his love is stronger. In an instant, he does what he thought impossible. He embraces the leper and kisses him on the lips. Thus the saint is born. So it is with the reader who submits to the verb and its grammar sidekicks. Ah, happy active life!

Below are some quotes that sizzle with guiding, driving verbs.

"A lively, understandable spirit once entertained you./It will come again./Be still./Wait." --Theodore Roethke

"When someone asks, what is there to do?/Light the candle in their hand/Like this." --Rumi

"When the bird and the book disagree, always believe the bird."
--James Audubon

Steve Leveen

Wow, Cassandra and Robert--your wisdom and writing are inspiring. I'm going to read both of your comments several more times and let them soak in. Thanks for sharing your passions.

Steven Finell

Andrea's interview was thoughtful and thought-provoking. For me, the verb "empower" best characterizes what I get from reading, followed by "appreciate" (in its broad sense, which includes "apprehend").

My proofreader's soul compels me to remark on Andrea's use of "prone." Unless she does a lot of her reading lying on her belly, I believe she meant "supine." Black activist Stokely Carmichael confused these words when a journalist asked him about black women's place in the black power movement; he answered, "Prone." He meant "supine," as shorthand for lying flat on their back in bed, available when the brothers came home from the battle.

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