(This was orignally supposed to run on Sept 20th but I wanted to touch on the movie The Words. Wonder if my life is better in the future…)
There is the common thought that a writer is only a writer if he is a suffering writer. If you have a big house and kids and everything paid for, you aren’t wired to angst and can’t capture human existence.
And that might be true – certainly people who know the crush of personal loss or the humiliations of modern society can ‘write what they know’. But sometimes it comes in so fast and hard, you can’t keep up. Sometimes the grinding of life’s millstone can kill off the writer’s enthusiasm.
I haven’t lost a child or been diagnosed with cancer but lately things have been pretty lousy. I’m trying to keep a train club together and our post-recession finances are shaky. So Sunday, I go in to mow the lawn and find out the Bithlo hicks have boosted our $1700 lawn mower (as recounted HERE). And nobody else seemed to have time to make a pass through the various pawn shops, looking for it (my job again). At home, my computer seems to be having MSE boot problems. My Dale Carnegie course ended and my recognition for feeding 25 people was nil. Another rejection notice. A slow driver clips a light and leaves me behind. On and on.
It’s very easy when this sort of Jobish-overloading happens to really want to chuck writing. I actually was thinking of just skipping this week’s Dog Ear, just because I’m not really in the mood.
So last night I just went to bed early and read further through Ark, by Stephen Baxter. It’s good. Not Pendido Street Station good, Snow Crash good, or War of the Worlds good (the latter is like comfort food for me). But it’s interesting. But the thing is, it reminded me of how much I like reading. Even “meh” books are still books, with the potential to surprise you with a twist or charm you with a phrase. To me, writing is like going to a museum, one where every paragraph is a portrait with its own artful presentation. Yeah, I like reading, and doing things we like sooths the nasty, brutish things we must endure in this world. And with reading comes writing. Art follows appreciation.
So here is your Dog Ear. Enjoy!