Confessions of a Plot Junkie

25 Jun


The green glow of my extra-large clock radio is competing with the glow from my iPad at 11:30pm.  My eyes keep drooping downward, sometimes closing briefly–five minutes or so–before they snap open again.  I know I should put the book away, should turn over and bury my head in the pillow and sleep, but I can’t.  I need to know why Christine, the main character, can’t remember anything.  I need to know if her husband is as creepy as he seems, or if it’s the too-solicitous psychiatrist who is actually hiding something.  I need to know if the best friend was lying when she said she was there to help.

I need to know what happens.

In class, I exhort my speedy readers to slow down and enjoy their stories, to savor the language and think about the meaning.  Too bad I can’t take my own advice.  The drive of curiosity, the frustration of not knowing what comes next,  is overwhelming.  Maybe I’ll go back later, I think, and reread the especially important parts.  Maybe I’ll be able to slow down once I know the ending and really appreciate the writing.

Too bad I almost never reread.

Last week I finally learned how to use the highlight and annotate function on the iPad to mark down places of interest in my novels.  So far, the thrill of highlighting without actually defacing a book (a practice I’ve never grown comfortable with), and then being able to go back and remember all of those key sections, has given me some motivation to slow down.  You have to pause, at least momentarily, to drag your finger across the screen and save those juicy sentences.  My newfound ability to annotate drove me back to a book I had read before, Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human, to capture some of the most salient passages.  Maybe this will be the change that finally gets me to slow down, to think more deeply as I read?

Back in bed at night, I watch the percentage reader on the iPad slowly tick up.  34%.  42%.  51%.

I can do this, I think, all pretense of slowing down to savor the book disappearing.  I can finish the book this evening and I’ll know if Christine was crazy, or if something is really not-quite-right in her world.

Just a few more pages.

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