I have to read a piece twice to get the full weight of it*. When I was a younger man I could read things once and they would hit me between the eyes like a charging raccoon. (Perhaps not my best metaphor ever.) Now, though, I have to read things twice before they break though my thickened skull.
The first time I read it, the piece grazes me like a just-off-target snowball. The second time through, the skill I’ve developed as a reader and a writer kicks in and I find my zone and…blamo…wham…I see the piece like a photo and I can speak to it and throw my arm around my fellow writer and help him see where the focus is just off, where the color needs tweaked, and where the tone is not quite fully buffed.
And it only works like this if I read the piece one day and draw conclusions the next.
Choose not to obey this law and I nearly might as well have not bothered.
Oh…and it doesn’t work at all on my own stuff.
*a realization I had this week while reading a grad-school peer’s packet of three flash fictions.