A Pleasing Terror

There’s a meme that goes around every now and then, about how books just end. And you sit there coming back to reality, to find that the world is unchanged despite you having been emotionally traumatised by a bundle of tree slices with squiggles on them.

Reading can be a powerful tool for self exploration. Reading, especially in longer formats, takes time. Fiction never delivers up an idea to be immediately assessed. It’s a technique for examining experiences through a proxy. If you’d asked fourteen year old me about kink I’d have probably pulled faces and made lazy jokes. But a few years later and I’d devoured a sizable chunk of the Nexus Publishing back catalogue, and through it things that wouldn’t appeal if just offered to me were now fully realised thoughts and desires.

I’m certainly not alone in discovering my sexuality through reading, and I’m pretty sure that, as tools of self discovery go, it’s at no risk of dying out. I know numerous people a decade younger than me who discovered and explored their sexuality through fan fics. And contrary to some fears, there’s people in the generation down that read at a rate that I find genuinely disturbing.

Not that anything will ever necessarily sum up exactly how you feel. There’s always a mismatch, a different angle or expression of an idea. A distinction that really really matters and makes the difference between these words and you.

And perhaps that’s why the Venn diagram of voracious readers and writers has such a huge overlap.