The Perils of Reading Fiction

December 1, 2016

reading

If you read too many books with made-up stories you go a bit mad
That’s what my Sergeant used to say every time he saw anyone reading
All those writers, most of them foreign and dead,
With their freaky ideas and nancy ways and gone with the how’syourfather
All those Swish Family Robinsons and Lorna Dooms and King Falstaffs
And The Great Fatsby and Virginia Beowulf and Kubla Khan-Khan
And Jane Austen and Jane Morris and Jane Volkswagen
All of em jumbled up and tripping over each other in your brainbox
Well it’s like letting a year’s worth of dreams out of a corrall
To stampede all over your real life, all those pretty lies and ugly lies,
Whirling about inside your skull, beating up storms of yellow dust
So soon you can’t see for the grit in your eyes, you can’t look out at all
And see the real world which is just the real world
And is real and not made up by somebody trying to be clever –
Listen – what I say is –
If you read too many books with made-up stories you go a bit mad.

Adrian Mitchell

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