My book club and the mountain of books in my room have me constantly reading. As ya’ll who read my blog regularly know, I completed three books in the past week! I’m on a roll and it feels so good!
I have to be careful though. I find myself rushing through the words like I’m in a race to finish as many books as I can this year. This is true but I’m reading like mad so I can enjoy the content and also be exposed to different writing styles; I don’t want this competition with myself to deter me from actually enjoying these books.
Recently, I read the short story, “Secretary,” written by Mary Gaitskill and at first read, I absolutely hated it. The character was completely unlikeable, she didn’t change at the end, and she stayed in the same place she was in the beginning – no arc, no nothing. After the story sat with me for a day, I was able to appreciate what Gaitskill painted in her tale. For one thing, the collection is titled Bad Behavior for a reason; I had an icky sensation after reading “Daisy’s Valentine” and “Secretary” which is why I hated this book for a full five minutes (maybe less, maybe more, I’m unsure) then this loathing went away. What place does the writer have to be in to create such depressing characters? I’m not hating on Gaitskill, I’m lauding her with the praise she’s received for her writing. The way she made me feel had me rushing to take a cleansing hot shower; now that’s deep. The reaction I had to her story was enough to show me this is what writers do – sometimes the stories stay with you and sometimes, they don’t.
Will I be able to create stories like her? I hope so.
As for writing styles, I’m reading memoirs, literary and contemporary fiction to get an idea of what I like and what I’d like to write. After reading King’s Blockade Billy, I realized how much his writing has affected my own work; the journey to find my voice has begun and I’m so excited to perfect it.
This is why reading like a maniac is absolutely amazing. 🙂