reading not to write, righting the need to read
Sometimes it’s very difficult to continue writing every day. There are many reasons why, spanning the spectrum from personal to social, physical to psychological (why do we separate “physical” from “psychological”?), internal to external, etc.
A frequent question that comes up is: How do you deal with writer’s block? Writer’s block is often misdiagnosed, I suspect.
I think I am fond of using analogy partially because I’m a writer. At any rate, I think writing is a little like farming… (holy shit, am I having a Forrest Gump moment????). If I can be forgiven for continuing with this analogy please follow along.
The farmer ought not to plant crops in the same field year after year. It depletes the soil and causes erosion, etc. In the same way, I think the writer cannot write on and on without taking time to nournish and replenish her mind and spirit. You could artificially fertilize the field with chemicals and plant peanuts, year after year…but how will those peanuts taste?
I would rather have delicious peanuts every three years rather than tasteless forced crops annually.
It could be said that this is a creative form of rationalizing the days I cannot write….
I turn forty-three this year.
So, I’ve been binge-reading the past few days. Molly Gloss’ _The Dazzle of Day_ and Junot Diaz’s _The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao_. Both of them excellent, thoughtful, carefully crafted and distinct in completely different ways. Stylistically Gloss is, measured, controlled, precise– Diaz, effusive, extravagent, playful (style, not content, tho his use of humor is, well, wondrous albeit sometimes painful). My soil is enriched and I am thoughtful and deeply grateful.
Some writers say they can’t read anything when they are working on a project because they don’t want others’ writing to influence their own…. All I can say is:
Dude! Should you be so lucky!