Skim

Friday, February 22, 2013


. . . don't worry. This isn't a post about what kind of milk the Roaches prefer. (Grahm says 2%, I say Skim. We compromise at 1% organic, in case you were curious.)
Question. Are you the kind of person who reads every word on every page?

My philosophy on reading is that life is too short to read bad books. (And no, Justin Beiber's book does not count. Legen-wait for it-dary.) Since I edit some pretty crap-tastic novels for a living, I'm pretty picky about what I read in the ten minutes before I fall asleep. If you think about it, this is actually a terrible perspective. 

You see, I'm a skimmer. My eyes quickly scan the words on a page, line after line until I grasp the big picture. (Maybe this is why I'm terrible with recipes.) It doesn't matter if I skip entire sentences, or even paragraphs at a time. Just as long as I get the gist. Unless there is some brilliantly written, hilarious prose (aka anything by Tina Fey), I don't need to be bogged down by every word.

. . . What if I treated people the way I handle books? I start and stop novels like Kim Kardashian and marriage. I lose interest quickly. I skim until I find something worthwhile. Pick 'em up, put 'em down until I find one worth flipping pages for. If I treated people this way, I wouldn't have any friendships, any real relationships to speak of.

The beautiful thing about life is that every one of us has a story, beautiful words on pages. God has carefully crafted the letters of lives, and every word is important; it all matters. I should care about each page of someone's life as He, the author, does.

If we are truly loving people, skimming isn't an option.

34 comments:

julia rose. said...

Now this. THIS is good stuff.

Sara Norton-Sanner said...

I have a quote hanging on my wall that says, "Your story matters...tell it." As I writer I'm always discouraged thinking that my books/blogs/stories are going to be just skimmed over. Because I do that too. But, you are right. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone's story matters. We should invest time in them :)

Suze said...

I love this. So wise. And I totally agree.

I'm not a skimmer with books or people. I read everything even if I don't like it, hoping to find some redeeming thing in there. Sometimes it's disappointing. Same with people. I love meeting strangers and hearing their stories and finding out. Maybe that's why I love blogging?

Suze said...

And thanks for sharing this today.

Rachael said...

Haha I'm way too anal to skim a book!! I'd be so scared of missing some important detail. But why, you edit novels for a living?? That sounds like an awesome job, where do I sign up??

Maxine said...

I skim too (I'm glad you didn't skim the biebz book). It's interesting to see how slow/fast people read something... I've always been the fast reader who wants the other person to hurry up. Nothing against their intelligence, just "how" they look at it. Great post today!!

Sara said...

Great post! I totally skim when I read, but, I didn't look too much into it. You put it into a completely different perspective today.

Jordyn said...

Love reading your posts. Equal parts funny and inspiring. Love it.
Jordyn
theprettylovelyblog.blogspot.com

Ashley from The Kitchen-Sink Chronicles said...

I'm not a skimmer but I never feel obligated to finish a book it if isn't captivating me. I probably am a bit guilty of skimming when it comes to certain people in my life. :(

Allison said...

I love this post...your posts are so wise yet hilarious. What a great combo. :)

Katie Did What said...

Love this, love you. NO skimming allowed.

xo

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Amie Willoughby said...

This is wonderful! People are precious & should be treated thus! ...But, I shall continue to skim book pages..except my Bible. (I like that pic!!)

herestohappinesses.blogspot.com

Amy said...

Skimming is definitely not an option, thank you for reminding me of that!

Kayla Peveler said...

This is soo true. I have recently been challenging myself to never skim (so its funny you blogged about this!), even through the genealogy parts in the bible! Its tough, but those words are important!

Becca Moss said...

Looove this! I skim all the time and have a problem with sometimes reading/skimming the last chapter of a book before I read the beginning or I'm stuck at the middle. Yeah, probably not the best way to read a book but whatevs. (:

Emily said...

I am such a skimmer, both with milk and reading. and with life! i'm always trying to push ahead to the next part instead of enjoying the present--thanks for the reminder to stop and enjoy :)

Carmina Hughes said...

such a great insight! Thanks for sharing this! I needed to hear it because sometimes I'm guilty of "skimming" over people.
p.s. your bliggity blog is hilarious and I love your writing voice!

-Carmina
cjoyhughes.blogspot.com

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Amanda said...

When I worked as a professional editor for 4 years, I hardly wanted to spend pleasure time reading something crappy...because I did that all day! That being said, I really hate stopping a book once I've started it. I forced my way through a few terrible books just because I didn't want to say I quit. I have problems :) ha. Whom do you edit for?!

Whitney said...

I really needed to hear this today. Thank you.

(also, you're an editor?? Tell me about it!)

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Sweet Carolina On My Mind said...

I just want to tell you that I am new to your blog but that I ABSOLUTELY love it (I will admit to having actually laughed out loud while reading)! You and Grahm are ALOT like my hubs and I! And this post is exactly what I needed. Lately I have this bad problem where I just "skim" people. Thank you for this today!!

thelifeofmrsmckaig.blogspot.com

Annie said...

I love this post, Jena! Loving people well means jumping deep into the trenches and walking through life with them. This is something I need to work on, too.

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Nagehan said...

Some of the greatest writers I spoke to while I was at Columbia always said something along the lines of how life is too short to not skim the books that aren't worth to read all the way through. Sometimes, it's okay to dedicate time to things that grab your interests and make you a new person afterwards. Sometimes, it's okay to skim and move on to things that will matter more. xoxoxo

Katie said...

I really adore this post, Jena.

P.S. I read every single word on every page. Even if I hate the book, I have to finish it.

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