I am an inappropriate crier. I cry at weddings (real and movie), as well as at Hallmark commercials, videos of my kids when they were babies and sappy songs on the radio. But I don't cry after reading books. At least, not lately.
This, apparently, is a problem. I can hide behind "hormones" or "I'm just a big mush" when it comes to the first examples. But when everyone in my book group cries at the end of a book and I don't, eyebrows go up.
"You didn't cry?"
"What do you mean you didn't cry? Did you at least feel like crying?"
"Er, no, not really."
They look at each other and wonder how I got into this club. I can see their minds going, wondering what kind of cold-hearted, unfeeling biotch I am to have not cried at the end of this story. I actually consider lying and saying that I did, in fact, cry.
But the thing is, I used to cry at the end of books. When I was younger, and romantic stories showed me how love is supposed to be, what wonderful men were out there just waiting to fall in love with me, I cried. Mostly because my parents thought I was too young to date and therefore I had no way to meet these young princes, but still. The point is, I cried.
Until I became a writer.
Maybe this made me colder and more calculating when it came to words. I subconsiously read stories and think, "ooh, good line," or "no, that's not plausible after all we know about this character." Mostly, though, I think, "this could have been done better."
Granted, I'm not saying I could have done it better. OK, sometimes I feel like I could have. The point is, I no longer read stories purely for the emotional reaction they cause in me. I read them to learn how to write better. Or in some cases, how not to write.
So maybe this is not the book group for me. Maybe I belong in a book group made up of all writers, and our goal could be the same: find the formulas, the holes, the things that work so we can use them ourselves.
Or maybe I should just keep an onion near my nightstand when I am finishing a book. At least then I won't have to lie.