Monday, January 26, 2009

Three In A Row

How often is it that you pick up three newly-released books in a row and love all of them?

I don't mean that you liked them enough to keep you going until the end. I don't mean that you don't consider the time you spent with the book ill-spent. I mean these are books you flat-out LOVED, that you hated to put down, that you carried into the bathroom so you could read them while brushing your teeth, and held them upside-down while you were doing your crunches at the gym because you were at a really good place when your 45 minutes on the stepper were up. I mean you loved these books so much that you pressed them into your beloved son's hands before you realized that 1) he's still not old enough for themes that adult and 2) he might lose them, like he loses everything, and these are books you plan to keep forever just so you can look at them and remember how much you enjoyed every word.

I ask again - how often does that happen?

In my experience, never. And it's such an incredible gift that it changed the tenor of my entire week. It renewed my own dedication (more on that in a sec) and charged the whole atmosphere with sparkly potential, because people out there are stringing words together prettily in defiance of all the sky-is-falling negativity.

The only downside of this experience is that one of the books is a debut novel. (One is, I believe, an eighth novel and "breakout"; the other is a second novel). Fellow writers, surely you've had the disquieting experience of closing a book and thinking "dang, i'll never pull off something like that"...and when it's a writer's first effort, it's particularly likely to mess with your mind. **

I have my brother to thank for the proper response to such a setback. I was wallowing in self-pity earlier when he sent this email:

Yes, I too had a long moment after finishing [TITLE DELETED] when I thought, I will never ever ever write a book as good as that.

But, I can write a different book, in my style, that is good in its own way.

And so can you.

Thanks Mike :)

** yes, of course, there's no telling how many other manuscripts the writer wrote and never published. This footnote, incidentally, is a clue to the identity of the book.


Chris said...

Taunter. Mean, non-title-sharing taunter. It's just cruel, is what it is.

Karen said...

why not name the book and the author? Now I'm really intrigued and I'm sure the author won't mind hearing how wonderful they are and picking up a few new readers.