Everyone is in a hurry these days. Faster cars, faster computers, faster ways to publish books. And now we are expected to learn how to speed read so we can hope to process, in a timely manner, all this information being thrown at us.
Speed reading comes with inherit dangers. The danger of overlooking something important due to skimming over things instead of taking the time to actually comprehend what you are reading. The danger of traveling down a road you didn't really want to travel simply because you were going too fast to put on the brakes. Or even the danger of missing out on the pure joy of reading in your rush to the last page.
I've decided to start a new campaign. The SLOW DOWN campaign where to be a member, all you have to do is SLOW DOWN!
Stop and smell the roses...
Kick back and relax...
Slow down and read a book.
I mean, after all, we writers take a lot of time and effort to create that perfect story. Blood, sweat, and a few tears have gone into each rewrite on our way to that final draft. Shouldn't that effort be rewarded with others slowing down long enough to actually savor the moment?
In my school visits yesterday, I read Earnest by Catherine Rayner, to my kids. I was eager to get to the ending so I could show them the wonderful solution to Earnest's problem. I thought I was reading at a slow pace while I attempted to draw my audience deeper into the story.
When I announced "the end" and closed the book, I was brought back to reality when a little girl in the front row looked at me and said, "Boy, that was a short story. Read it again"! It wasn't that the story was too short. It was that I read too fast for her to fully enjoy the wonderful tale Catherine Rayner had created in her picture book. So I began again, and this time I took my own advice.
I slowed down. Lesson learned.