Energy Transfer

Food for thought: A wonderful professor I know made a bold statement that grabbed my attention: When you pull a pot-boiler novel off the shelf in a supermarket and spend the weekend reading it, you’re entertained, but not enlivened: you’re exactly the same after you finish the book as you were before you read it. It’s amused you, but hasn’t affected you.

Coincidentally, my friend Rob Gilbert said on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690, it’s great, check it out!) that he doesn’t want to be entertained he wants to be energized. He went on to talk about some performers who transmit enormous energy to their audiences: Bruce Springsteen and Michael Flatley of Riverdance, for example. Rob also finds the Rocky Movies enormously energizing.

Mmmm…All this rattled around in my head and started me thinking about energy transfer from a writing perspective. Stage performers often talk about the exchange of energy they engage in with their audiences during live shows. Is there a similar energy dynamic going on between authors and their readers?

If a book influences you emotionally: if it impels you to think deeply, inspires and uplifts you, or has the power to disturb you — is there a transfer of energy going on? On my end, I’d have to say yes. I believe that something mysteriously potent happens every time you pick up a truly memorable and moving book.

When reading an amazing novel — A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man springs to mind — I find that my mood is totally affected by the book’s tone and images. It’s as if I absorb the book’s emotional “climate.” Sometimes I’ll become restless or agitated, sometimes quiet and reflective, sometimes nostalgic or melancholy. If the book really hits me hard, the mood it engenders can take a long time to dissipate.

How about you? Do you think something elemental happens when you read something really powerful? How would you describe what you experience? How does a masterful writer make this happen?

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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1 Response to Energy Transfer

  1. Elise says:

    I don’t think something elemental always happens, but when it does I love it…even if it’s disturbing in some way or even agitates me. The way I experience this is the book stays with me through my day and sometimes even my dreams. Part of my mind is yielded to the story and engrossed in the world it has portrayed. Wish I knew how to do this. Powerful writing is certainly what I want to attain. I found the book Anthology of an American Girl to grip me this way. I found it hard to read, disturbing, but it impacted me.

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