Read and Write. Write and Read.

Last Saturday morning I met Joy Riggs and Christine Lienke, two of my best writing friends, and headed out for a mini road trip to Zumbrota, Minnesota.

Why drive to Zumbrota, a city of just over 3,000 tucked between the farm fields of southeastern Minnesota? Well, it's a great little town with nice shops and a great arts community. I love small towns and Zumbrota is well worth a visit. But our main draw for the day was a talk on writing - Writing from The Middle of Nowhere given by Michael Perry.

I first learned of Michael Perry when I read his book Population 485. I think that was back in 2003 or so. I've since kept an eye on him and have heard him speak on writing and read from his books a couple of times. He's down to earth and funny. He's smart yet not the kind of person who tries to make you feel less than when he talks to you. He, with his plaid shirts and jeans and humble manner, reminds me of my relatives, the hard-working farmers on both sides of my family. I like what Perry has to say and how he says it so when I heard that Perry was going to give a talk at Crossings in Carnegie, a wonderful arts center in Zumbrota, I signed up.

I've been needing a little writing pep talk of sorts. Perry's talk was inspirational and full of great information about the writing life. The biggest thing I got from the talk, though, is something I know but something I haven't been doing. A writer, said Perry, has to read and has to write. A lot.

I've gotten so caught up in working all the time that I feel like it's wrong somehow to sit still and lose myself in a book.

But it's not. As a writer, I need to read. Perry brought this up again and again in his talk. Writers must read and write. Write and read.

So I started reading The War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. It's a book I've wanted to read for about a year now but haven't because I kept telling myself I had more important things to do. Oh, and it's a horse story so I probably have been avoiding it because I know it's going to make me cry. A lot. Horse stories do that to me.

And this morning, instead of checking work emails to start the day, instead of writing website content or getting caught up in my computer, I read a couple more chapters of my book.

And now I'm writing.

Read and Write. Write and Read.

A good way to start the week.


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