Reposted from Drafts on October 30, 2019
I’ve hit up a bunch of different bookstores in the last couple days because I’m desperate for some good fiction, but whenever anyone offers to help me I keep saying, ‘I’m just looking.’
Because if I was honest I’d say I want a book about change. I want to read a book that will make me want to quit my job and go to Europe, and be excited about it. I want a book that takes all the fear and nervous energy and restlessness I’ve felt lately and reassures me that it’s normal, okay, and even good to see where one simple and kind of reckless impulse takes me.
I’d like to read a book about someone who isn’t certain of anything beyond the fact that they’re uncertain. And confused. And then I’d like to live it, and have almost everything go right, but enough things go wrong to keep it interesting.
Maybe a book that reads like Hemingway but is set in a contemporary world, with contemporary issues and characters that feel alive today. People that I’d imagine passing on the street.
I probably should’ve just asked, because after visiting three bookstores yesterday I came home empty-handed. I have a few books I’m in the middle of that I keep revisiting and then reshelving. I don’t know why nothing is holding my interest.
Today I went to Indigo while I waited for an oil change and I bought Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a classic–and from what I’ve heard a book perhaps more relevant today than ever. I’ll get to it once I’m finished The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, which is pretty good. I’ve found that I can read any of his books pretty easily, but I guess that’s the reason why he’s so well known. I hope him and Margaret clear up this reader’s drought I’m living.
EDIT (30-10-19): Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines ended up being the book I was looking for. He’s better known for In Patagonia which I didn’t like as much and have not finished.
And not to mention the writer’s block. I’m all plugged up! It’s like flu season in my brain. I’ll average about 500 words of nonsense a day (beyond the nonsense here on the blog) and reading it back is just depressing. I should set up a proper counter and then once I’d written all the bad stuff down and had nothing left but the gold, I could say THIS IS HOW MANY WORDS IT TOOK TO GET TO SOMETHING READABLE: _____. I’m not there yet, but we must be well into the 200,000’s now. Closing in on the 300k’s, I bet.
I figure, at least I’m pretty good grammatically and spelling-wise. Maybe good, not great, and usually I can write with a pretty strong flow. My stories are just terrible. Depressingly terrible. And I keep thinking, how am I ever going to be a rich and widely read novelist if I can’t write a good story at 24! Not even a decent short story, let alone a novel.
Now, I think if I was giving myself advice it would be: keep writing. Don’t stop. And one day, fingers crossed, something will come out of my brain and hands that’s worth buying. Or at least worth stealing from the internet.