Writer Nick Hornby tells how he became a reader and, implicitly, how he became a writer:
“When I was nine years old, I spent a few unhappy months in a church choir (my mum’s idea, not mine). And two or three times a week, I had to sit through the sermon delivered by an insufferable old windbag of a vicar. I thought it would last for ever, and sometimes I thought it would kill me—that I would, quite literally, die of boredom.”
“The only thing we were allowed for diversion was the hymn-book, and I even ended up reading it, sometimes. Books and comics had never seemed so necessary; even though I’d always enjoyed reading before then, I’d never understood it to be so desperately important for my sanity.”
“I’ve never, ever gone anywhere without a book or a magazine since.”
If you are a public speaker, a vicar or a preacher, keep boring your listeners. Heaven knows how we need more entertaining writers like Nick Hornby.
Nick Hornby, The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, London: Viking, 2006, 8-9.
Image: Nick Hornby