It’s a blessing and a curse…

…having an eye for words. Or an ear, that is. Although, I suppose this pertains to all crafts. Once you get deep enough in something, you can’t escape it.

Lately, when I’ve been curled up on my couch with a book, I’ve found myself stumbling over sentences, editing it in my mind as I read. I’ll catch myself wondering why the writer used word x over word y. Or why they chose that certain analogy. Or why they decided to have the rhythm of a paragraph fall just so. See, I’ve come to the point where I can’t turn my inner editor off. It is always awake, always analyzing. I’m fairly certain that reading will never again be the same.

I’ve been a writer my whole life, but only in recent years did I start to think of writing as a career. Only then did I start to give it the time it deserved – which was basically ever free second I had. And that’s when this blessing of a curse came about. The closest thing I can equate it to is an experience I had back in college, when I was studying web design. I distinctly remember the day that I started seeing design not just on my computer screen, but around me. A road sign was no longer just a road sign, but a thoughtful layout with carefully selecting typography. Same with a map, or a pamphlet. And then I started seeing design everywhere: In store windows, in gift wrapping, on restaurant menus, inside CD jackets, during movies, within nature. Once I had immersed myself enough, I couldn’t turn off the eye I had developed. Once you learn something, you can’t very well unlearn it.

And so now I’m at a similar crossroad when it comes to reading. I’ve spent so long immersed in my own works and revisions and edits over the last two years, that I can’t not see the potential elsewhere. Everywhere. Any sentence I ingest I work over, in my mind, on my tongue. I see it. I hear it. And then I ponder over whether I would have done it differently, or if it already a perfectly strung together work of art.

Maybe this blessing/curse business exists in all art forms. Maybe an architect sees lines and structure in every object. A photographer, light and shadow. A craftsman, textures and material. I suppose there is inspiration in everything in this world, and whatever your craft is, you will manage to find it.

I have a pretty good feeling I’m not alone in this predicament. Who else can’t turn off their inner editor? Who else can’t escape their craft even when they aren’t intending to practice it?

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