Saturday, February 24, 2007

Reader's Diary #235- Mary Lawson: Crow Lake (up to p. 50)

This is another book club pick that I didn't vote for. It had been on my wishlist for a while but since my wife gave me Lawson's latest, The Other Side of The Bridge for Christmas, I'd rather be reading that right now. I'm always so behind in current literature, I didn't see why we had to do Crow Lake. Anyway, in the interest in democracy, I checked it out of the library and yes, I am enjoying it.

The book so far is told in a friendly, storytelling voice. That's been making me question my own writing. My biggest problem, I'm the first to admit, is simply that I don't. I find too many excuses, procrastinate, and end up getting nothing written. Asides from that, and what Crow Lake has reminded me, is that I don't know how I want to write. Often when I read things like Crow Lake, I think, "Great, no bullshit, no overly flowery language that no one understands, just simple, good old fashioned storytelling at its best. This is how I should write." Then I pick up another book with eccentric characters, non-chronological storyline, symbolism and switches in voice and perspective and so forth and I think, "great, someone who's not afraid to take risks, fun experimentation and it challenges me. This is how I should write."

Maybe my problems are related to one other. Maybe if I wrote more I'd know which style best suited me. Or maybe I'd see that I didn't have to pick one over the other. I definitely need to be more disciplined. I know what that means though; I need to read less. My obsession with reading was born out of wanting to write. I didn't feel I could write unless I read more, understood poetry, and so forth. Now, it's time to cut back and I can't. Books, sadly, don't come with methadone.

4 comments:

Allison said...

Great post. Everytime I click over here you manage to remind me I should be doing other things...lol.

I've been having the opposite problem as of late, I'm reading less and thinking that's contributing to my lack of writing lately. I don't think you have to sacrifice one for the other, but it is terribly hard finding a balance.

John Mutford said...

Of course, I also could cut back on the blogging.

Nah. That's the only writing I'm getting done!

You're right though Allison, one doesn't have to be sacrificed entirely for the other. But when time is scarce to come by, I do need to cut back on something. What sort of writing do you do, by the way?

Since I posted this I did whip up a little rough draft of a short story. Chastising myself works- for a short while anyway. I'm reminding myself of my mother. She used to get on fitness kicks after seeing Barker's Beauties or some other skinny bimbos on T.V.. She'd say, "I'm going to get in shape. Enough excuses." This would be followed by ten situps (assisted with me holding her feet on the floor), and a 6 month break until the next workout.

Allison said...

Right, we could all cut back on blogging and probably be very productive, but nah.

I predominately write short stories, and every now and again chip away at a screenplay I've been writing for a few years. Its a never ending ambition, but keeps me occupied. I wish I could be more disciplined.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Great posts and equally great comments.

I think that we get very used to using a certain voice in the writing that we do all the time (like blogging) and it is really tough to switch over to another voice that feels just as natural.