A good mystery book is like a cold drink to me. OK, a cold alcoholic drink that has a lot of lime in it. And is sweet. (I’m making up this drink. I don’t drink anymore, but this one sounds good.)
I often toss the current book in the car, put it in my purse, and read whenever I have a few minutes of waiting time. Pumping gas into my car, waiting for my number to be called at the deli–a good mystery is a joy.
And I rip through them. The only time I stop is if I accidentally (as happened last week) am reading two mysteries at the same time. I often read a fiction and non-fiction, but two mysteries will do me in. And if one of them is a Peter Robinson writing about Inspector Banks and another one is an Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus, and both concern the abduction of young girls, when then one has to wait while I race through the other. Too much plot confusion.
This morning I picked up a poetry book. I opened it and zipped through the first poem with the speed I read mysteries. Went on to the next one, faster than my thoughts could grasp them. Finally my brain screeched to a halt and said, “Wait. Stop. You can’t read poetry at that pace. Poetry needs you to taste each word. Poetry needs time in reading.”
I’d never thought of that obvious truth. And maybe that’s why poetry books are so slender. They need time to read and hear and echo.
––Quinn McDonald has applied to a poetry-as-healing three-year course of study. She is waiting to hear if she was accepted.