My love for reading fiction is slowly recovering after almost a decade of suffering from an unknown yet terrible, life-threatening disease. I’m relieved. It’s been so strange to be a writer of fiction who doesn’t actually enjoy reading fiction much at all. I know, right? Well, I’ve been an unsuccessful writer of fiction (understandably!), so it’s fine.
I am convinced that many of us go through this: at some point all fiction seems pointless, the product of someone feverish imagination, not worthy of our time since it doesn’t seem to enrich us in any way, either intellectually, spiritually, or emotionally. Especially after a lifelong complete, almost religious devotion to reading, it’s a bad place to be in. I suppose this happens more in our day and age when we benefit of really good TV shows that cover all our escapism/relaxation needs. Reading requires more effort than TV, and many times it doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. Because there is an overwhelming number of books being published lately, some of them of really doubtful quality. While TV is getting better and better. Series like True Detectives, The Returned, Hemlock Grove, Jekyll, Midsomer Murders, or Wallander can teach many writers quite a few lessons about storytelling techniques. True, some of these are based on books, but some are not, and yet their quality is beyond question.
I’m reading now The Silkworm of J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith, and I love it. It’s captivating and atmospheric and better than TV, although I’m sure it would make a good TV series too. It was fun to notice that she introduced a rant by a male writer about women writers:
“I said that the greatest female writers, with almost no exceptions, have been childless. A fact. And I have said that women generally, by virtue of their desire to mother, are incapable of the necessarily single-minded focus anyone must bring to the creation of literature, true literature. I don’t retract a word. That is a fact.” (The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith)
I have discussed the issue of women writing and having children in the same lifetime another time on this blog, and I don’t feel like going into that again today, because I have a feeling that more self-pity would be involved, with my being so overwhelmed by toddler care these days. But it is something to (always) think about.
In the meantime fall has taken over our part of the world. And it came with beautiful light that covers everything we see in amber and honey. Books and golden light. Should be enough to make one happy. Or, you know, content. For a short, aware moment.