I am looking forward today to reading magazines. Nothing but magazines. All day long.
Okay, maybe not ALL day. But I am planning to take a breather from Literature and lose myself in a little Oprah magazine, maybe some Jane, Self, and a couple of Us Weeklys. For the last few days, I’ve been trying really really hard to get into a novel that the local paper sent me to review. It seemed promising enough, but I just couldn’t get into it. First, nothing was happening, really. I mean, I can handle nothing happening at the beginning of a book, when you’re setting the scene, etc, but by page 100, something really needs to be going on. At least for me. Second, when things did sort-of-start-to-happen, the narrative jumped forward, back, interjected things from other scenes: it was like writing with a spirograph (remember those?), that’s the only way I can explain it. My students will tell you that what I want most out of any story or book is for it to Make Sense, and this just wasn’t. So I called the paper and said, you know, I just don’t think this book is for me. It’s clearly been well recieved elsewhere, and gotten some great reviews, so clearly I’m the problem. It’s like the literary equivalent of that famous breakup line: it’s not your book, it’s me. And the book editor, who I just adore, said, after my long agonized explanation (most of explanations are long and agonized), “Well, you know, it may not be you. It’s really hard to write a good book.”
And I thought: no kidding. I’ve been slaving over one for the last year. Almost officially a year, come next week. And I really hope it’s good. But this I do know for sure: things happen, because I NEED them to, to carry the story along. Again: might be just me. I don’t know.
So I’ll send the book back today, and pull out the drawer where all my magazines are piled up, waiting for me. Bliss, I tell you. Total bliss. Yes! At least until the next assignment…..
have a good day everyone!