Saturday, November 26, 2011
Reading as part of the work
What you read impacts on what you write. I know this is true from long hard struggles through the mire of mediocre writing. In the middle of reading a book which is fine. Good. Probably. Some people have called it good, and yet the writing is so flat and ordinary that I can feel all the inspiration been sucked out of me by the porous paper and the ink that is on it. What you read must be better than what you are writing. Some times this is difficult to achieve. You emerge, breathless from a book and know that you will never reach these dizzying heights. Still, reaching up towards them is good for your craft. This week I am stuck. This week I am in the middle of that average book that is possibly quite good. The writing plods and suddenly I am struck by the idea that I will only ever be as good as this thing I am reading now, this limp piece of prose that others seem to like. Find me something that flies. Find me a vessel to lift my own words off the ground or perhaps I will wallow here forever without any lift at all.