On Reading and Writing

By Annie Kim
Staff Writer

NBA star Kobe Bryant has a specific routine before shooting his free-throw shots. He swirls the ball in his hands for a split second, bounces the ball once, pauses, three bounces follow, a longer pause as his eyes focus on the basket. Then he takes his shot and of course, Kobe makes it. This routine at the free-throw line helps not only Kobe but basketball players everywhere to focus and collect themselves mentally, before delivering their free-throw shots. The process is just as important as the product.

As a writer and a reader, I have a well thought-out detailed process before I deliver my thoughts translated to words onto paper. Before I settle down to write or read, I have to properly prepare myself with the following steps. First, I brush my teeth. I cannot think or focus if I have not yet flossed, brushed and rinsed. Call it OCD. Call it whatever, but it works for me. Second, all types of food and snacks must be out of my reach. I am currently on a Seafood Diet (“See-Food-Diet,” hopefully you got that). Food is a distraction for me. Whether I am reading or writing, the grinding sound from the munching and crunching often overpowers my thoughts, thus not allowing me to give 100 percent focus to my work. The only exception is a cup of black coffee and maybe a stick of gum.

A wise UC Irvine English professor once told our class that reading and writing go hand-in-hand — you can’t write well without reading and you can’t read well if you don’t think about writing. Honestly, I was not a big reader before coming to UCI. Well, I’m still not a big reader but my progress is improving. I am a sports and fitness fanatic that does not do well when forced to sit still for a long period of time, so you can see where I have trouble.

As my relationship with books continues to thrive, I am starting to realize what type of readings I prefer. People are habitually grounded to their roots. It is in our nature to stick with what we know. With Internet sources such as Yahoo’s website and The New York Times, I read the articles that inform me about nutrition facts, NBA updates and fun animal facts. However, my favorite articles are ones that have a miraculous story about the compassion of humankind.

Just this morning, on yahoo.com, I stumbled upon the article “10 Beautiful Sacred Spots” around the world, written by Budget Travel writer Sandra Ramani. Ramani’s words made me ache to travel everywhere, ranging drastically from Oregon to Egypt. Like many of us, my book selection and article searches are arranged with stories and ideas consisting of adventure, passion and love. That explains why I do not have an interest for politics.

As the advancement of technology continues to take over our modern-day world, in my opinion, reading can fall into two categories. People may actually read more with the convenience of high tech digital devices such as Kindles and e-readers. Or the minds of people may be bombarded and corrupted by narcissistic Facebook statuses, useless Twitter updates borne of boredom and what Kim Kardashian does with her hair. Social media is playing such a huge role in our daily lives as it reaps into the doors of our homes and bedrooms. As a result, people may stop reading about what matters and start focusing on nonsense that can only do the mind and soul harm. Now, that is a scary thought.

Currently for leisure reading, I am hooked on “The Hunger Games” series. Many people comment that they are dumb fantasy books, cousin of the “Harry Potter” series. But it has adventure, passion and love — everything I look for when I pick up a good book to read on my own time. Plus, it doesn’t have Kim Kardashian as a main character.