Thursday, September 17, 2009

To Be Or Not To Be

I have been largely silent over the last few weeks, not just on this blog but elsewhere. It was likely obvious from my posts before the withdrawal that I wasn't feeling particularly optimistic or even content. That's only part of why I've been gone though. The instigating factor behind me crawling under a rock for awhile was the death of my laptop power adapter. I could have continued to post using my beloved's computer or even my phone, but I was already dispirited so it was easy to just curl up instead.

I've been thinking a lot while being curled up in my figurative ball, trying to get a better idea of where I'm going and if that's somewhere I actually want to be.

Back in high school, I had a class in Shakespeare. I was thrilled when I saw it offered at my new school, but the thrill didn't last. I had to drop at the end of the semester because it was obvious to me that if I didn't I was going to completely lose my love of the subject matter. The over-analysis of the materials murdered everything I enjoyed about them. Some people would be pointing fingers at the teacher over this, saying that if she'd focused more on how entertaining and clever Shakespeare is and less on remembering which bit character had a line in Act Three, Scene Four and on writing entire essays on the symbolism of one word in one line, the choosing of which I was certain was determined by the sound of the word more than its meaning, maybe I wouldn't have been so turned off. But I've always thought she did me a favor. Because of her, I knew I didn't want to be a lit major. Not that I couldn't be one, just that if I went that direction I was going to turn into someone I didn't want to be.

To clarify, I'm not saying all lit majors are joyless people with souls deadened by critical snark and pedantic attention to meaningless details that detracts from appreciation of the overall work. I'm just saying I was pretty sure I would end up thus. And I didn't want that to happen. I was born loving stories and I wasn't going to do anything to kill that.

Which is one of the reasons I'm upset with myself lately.

In the last two weeks, I have given up on two books without finishing them. This used to never happen, but lately there've been more books that I either haven't finished or have realized when I did that I should have trusted the instinct thirty pages in to toss the thing in Goodwill's direction.

The book before last I just didn't connect with. It didn't help that I thought the author was trying too hard to be Meg Cabot. Meg Cabot's a goddess, trying to be her if you're anyone else is going to fail. There were a few details that bugged me, but the big problems were the fake-seeming voice and the sad fact that I was bored by the story and the main character. I wasn't happy to give up on it, but I hung in for several extra days trying to make myself like the book and I just couldn't do it.

The one I stopped yesterday bothers me more. In part, I hated the main character. If that was the only problem, I wouldn't be upset with myself. This person was in many ways an anti-me. But since I despised her I had zero tolerance for other problems. Like when the love interest, who was supposed to be an alpha male but who reacted to things like a rather wussy female, started saying things while his lips were pressed together in a tight line. Without there being any mention of him being a ventriloquist. The bitchiness lines like that was bringing forth in me really bothers me. I don't want to be hateful just because someone organizes her sentences in ways I don't approve of. I don't want to feel an urge to throw a book at the wall because the author used some descriptors that seemed to contradict each other. I don't want to be pissy for hours because I came across an egregious run-on sentence. I want to enjoy the story.

I can only hope that when I shift from editing my work to death and return to writing something completely new I'll start being more accepting.

Earlier in the summer I was very worried about slaughtering my love of writing with all the things I've been forcing on myself in the quest to find publication. I'm struggling not to let that happen. I had thought losing the joy of writing could well be the spiritual death of me. Now I'm terrified of murdering my ability to enjoy reading. I really don't know what'll be left of me if that happens.

UPDATE: I wrote this yesterday but couldn't post it due to a forgotten password. Last night, I started a new read, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson. Why did I take so long to buy this book? It's amazing! I love it! And am very happy to be loving it. =)

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