Having been deeply unable to complete anything in in the last year, and feeling vaguely brain-snatched about it, I am determined to finish all the books I started in the last few months (almost done!) and get new ones and finish those, also. Books are a big deal.
For Christmas, I got $50 to Barnes & Noble, which was a lovely gift seeing as I worked there for years and miss it so…just as I miss the 30% discount. I do not wistfully remember being paid only $8.50 an hour, but it was a great job to have in college and I loved getting to talk about books all day while constantly being flooded with new ones. Hence, I marched myself to bn.com and scooped two new books, In Sunlight and Shadow by Mark Helprin and Sodom on the Thames, a book about gay subculture in Victorian London, which is kind of an obsession of mine. My grandma gave me a sweet book called Horses Never Lie About Love, knowing how much I miss working with horses (which I also used to do for years). Naturally, I am the proverbial kid in a candy store. I am halfway through the horse book, but I will have to do a coin-toss to decide which of the other two to start next.
I always feel most like a writer when I am reading a lot, and since I’m not acting at the moment I don’t have much of a creative outlet. I’m excited to force my own hand, so to speak–I really need to be inspired in order to produce; I’m not one of those artists who can be totally self-motivated. The London book is for research; I wrote a novel when I was 18 about the fallout of the Cleveland Street Scandal and a gay affair between a rich, married would-be writer and a French impressionist painter. When I was 20 I got an offer from a literary agent in New York. I accepted. The agency folded two months later, and my agent passed on my manuscript to another agent in a different office. My book got buried in the pile and I never heard anything else about it. Which is kind of a relief, because it actually needed a lot of work, and as my backups are on corrupted flash drives and my trusty macbook bit the dust beyond repair, I had given it up for lost.
I only just resolved to rewrite it. Hopefully Mark Helprin’s otherworldly, beautiful language will put me back in the mindset of creating, and Sodom on the Thames will help me get back into the world I left three years ago. Why not? I have already written a few dozen pages to shake off the rust.
And now, to the books I go!