It’s Sunday evening. I’ve been re-reading some middle chapters in my manuscript —- and editing, does the editing ever ever end?? —- for most the afternoon. Let’s shut it down and have a glass of wine, shall we.
A friend asked me what I’m reading. I’m not reading anything, I said. Nothing, nada, nil. And that’s the truth. I tried to start my book club novel, BECOMING MADAME MAO, but after the first few pages I could feel the language, the sentence structures and cadences, boring like a tunnel of bees right into my head. No, I thought, no no no. Put it down! Your memoir is going to sound like Anchee Min!
Writer friends, I know you know what I mean.
I’m being purposefully cautious: a little Joan Didion before bed, a chapter of Jane Smiley on audio while walking the dogs, some random Margaret Atwood pages (sorry Pegs), and all of James Wright’s poems. That’s it. As much as I rant and rail about getting out of the box, the box is exactly where I need to be. The box has blinders and headphones. The box keeps me focused on the job at hand. The box ain’t all that social. Anchee Min — yikes! — cannot be in my box.
So ….. for now, I’m keeping the lid on.
That said — ahem — real life comes in. We’re thinking about going to Rome this summer, so there’s that to plan. I’ve never been to Rome, and now, when I’m not wrapped up in cutting and pasting and typing, all I can think about is The Pantheon and The Colosseum and Vatican City. So if you’ve got any experience or advice that can help me there, I’m all ears. Auito! Per Favore.
What do you read (or absolutely NOT read) while you’re writing?