This weekend is the Southern Festival Of Books here in Nashville, and in honour of that I’ve decided that this week my blog is going to be all about books. (I know–it mostly is anyway anymore. But I’m being all official about it so that I look like a Serious Blogger and not just some half-cracked woman who talks to her computer.)
I am especially joyful about books today because I finally dreamed a story that is good enough for a book. I dream stories a lot; some get written down. But I haven’t been able to think of stories for about five months–ever since a panic attack in mid-June that I swear blew a couple of fuses in the electrical system and took down the Fanciful and Creative sections of Coblean Gray Matter.
One good thing did come of that little misfire, though. And I’m wondering if perhaps that good thing wasn’t even a great thing–the thing that helps make me into a far better writer.
For these past five months I have been able to read books again. When I finally came out of the closet as a writer in my mid-30s (that’s about 8 years ago if you’re mathphobic) I began reading everything with my mind cleaved in two. Half of me read like always, while the other half of me read as a writer studying the work of another writer. Each book became a class in How To (or, sadly and often, How Not To) Write. It’s very useful and I still insist that the single most important thing any writer can do is read broadly and always.
I haven’t just read anything in years. Imagine if every bite of food you took was also about trying to figure out the recipe. Sure, it’s all delicious but sometimes there is a sadness at the loss of the simple pleasure of enjoying that deliciousness unimpeded.
I’ve been able to read a lot of books since June and just enjoy their deliciousness. It got to be such a pleasure that I went back and re-read some favourites so that I could experience them for themselves alone.
I also had the distinct pleasure of plowing through the bulk of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. (Thanks always to Christy Nicholson for that recommendation!) If you enjoy books at all don’t let the “Science Fiction” moniker dissuade you from these. They’re rollicking stories–some of the best ever.
One of the best treats of all with having my writerbrain be offline was that I was able to read books (both unpublished and Beta) by friends without thinking “how would I have done this differently?” I feel like I got to truly enjoy Kat Heckenbach’s Finding Angel without my writery self getting in the way. I also got to enjoy Jill Domschot‘s book about dragons. Since that one isn’t published yet, though, I’ll have to keep that joy to myself. Keep an eye out for it; it’s some great literary spec fic that ought to see the light of day.
I realised that I did miss that part of books, that simple joy. Although I must say that I’m not at all minding the reignition of my own Seanachie section of brain, but it was awfully nice that the Summer and early autumn of 2012 was my own little Festival of Books.