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“One’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes.” Andrew Wyeth
“Something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” J.K. Rowling
Happy Valentine’s Day! A joyful, heartfelt valentine to writers and our readers:
On my car radio I once heard that the gift people treasure most on Valentine’s day is a handwritten note. I love it! Even today, when we text and email oceans of words, the ones that matter are handwritten ones. Something about reading a handwritten note touches and inspires us — like reading itself. Consider the benefits that our readers will reap when they cast their eyes over and dip their hearts into our stories:
They’ll be emboldened to achieve their goals: Just reading about a character who fights through obstacles and goes on to achieve his or her goals can inspire us to keep going when we hit rough patches in our own lives, according to Ohio State researchers. Think of feisty Jane Eyre or embattled Odysseus and all the quest stories you’ve ever read and the struggles that characters go through — it’s the same in life!
They’ll stay mentally alert and nimble: Reading keeps our brains supple and vibrant. Losing yourself in a good book and fully inhabiting the imaginary world it creates actually keep your brain younger! That’s right — younger! One study found that people at risk for Alzheimer’s who read regularly are less likely to develop the disease.
They’ll form better, stronger relationships: Studies show that people who love reading fiction aren’t just enhancing their capacity for enjoyment, they’re also gaining greater empathy for others. In fact, people who get into the heads of characters in the novels they read grow more adept at understanding what others are thinking in their actual everyday interactions and more skilled at reading and reacting to other people’s emotional cues. Amazing — no wonder book clubs are so popular!
They’ll increase their intelligence: Readers of all ages who enjoy delving into the worlds that we storytellers create to entertain and enliven them are constantly exercising their imaging capacities and igniting their curiosity about people, places, and things. They are also building their vocabularies and honing wordsmithing skills. Kids who read learn 50% more words than TV watchers!
OK, we’re on a mission: Our readers need us to keep their brains sharp and hearts full. So let’s all eat some chocolate, enjoy some flowers, pen notes, and write on!
I know you are right; I too respond to a handwritten note. But I have used a computer for so long now that my handwriting has become indecipherable, even to me. I can’t read my own notes!
I know what you mean! I love sending notes but really have to take
time to pen them carefully — even my husband sometimes has
a hard time deciphering my handwriting!