Reading and Writing

I finished The Road, which I thought was a very good book. I didn’t think it was the most amazing book I’ve ever read, and oddly I can’t say I enjoyed it, because I didn’t. It was bleak as hell, and there were moments when I thought, “why am I reading this? And why is anyone even bothering to try and survive in this world he has created?” But I kept reading it because McCarthy is a good writer, and he created a story where I wanted to reach the end, I needed to know what happened. And, most importantly, I really liked the boy. I cared about the characters. Still, I was left not feeling the greatest. I hope to god that if the end of the world comes like that, that I don’t live through it because I could not figure out why anyone would want to.

As a writer, I’m talkin’ about myself here, I finish one short story and now I am suddenly a writer. I take what I can. Anyway, as a writer, I can’t but help asking questions about what I am working on as I am reading, and The Road really made me think about character. The book is basically just two people. The sentences are sparse and short, in fact, it is the descriptions of the place, and their bodies in the environment that fills a majority of the pages. I kept thinking of photos of holocaust victims, whenever the narrator would describe the scenes. Yet, it was the characters that made this book, it was why I kept reading. I started thinking about my characters. Even though I had not touched my novel in months I have been thinking about it. Wondering about the characters, wondering what is needed, what is the reason that the main character goes to Prague to find her friend, what is their link? So on, and well, it isn’t easy to write a novel. Hell it wasn’t easy to write a short story. I’m amazed at how often it feels that it is tossed around that people are just busting out novels left and right, and low and behold they are all best sellers. Maybe I’m just dumb, and it is only myself and Gore Vidal who think writing a novel is difficult.

I’ve been reading all this information on “how to write a novel,” I’m not sure why since I’ve already written it- all 85,730 words of it. Big deal right? No what I need is how to tackle a novel when revising. My problem is that I already think no one is going to be interested in the stupid story because it isn’t any good. I wonder why I keep working on it. I swear to god I really do. I’m not trying to beat myself up here, although that is exactly what I am doing, but if I were ever to become a famous writer and someone looked back at what I said about writing it would be a lot of, I have no idea why I keep writing. I really don’t. Fortunately I don’t write often so it isn’t as if Im torturing myself daily, well I am but- hey, I’m just that kinda gal. Speaking of torture, I went ahead and pulled out the novel today and worked on it for a couple of hours. I finished the ending. It has a beginning, middle and end. Done. So there you go. Art for art’s sake? Anyway, I’m going to try working on it again, for unknown reasons, and pick up a new book to read along the way. I’m still reading the brain books, but they can be a little dry, in between I’ll be reading, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn– and I’m so excited to read it.

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