“Uh, okay… Just a sec… Just, uh, wait… Huh? Right. One more minute…”
Although this is normally what we hear from our daughter, in this case it was me procrastinating. Specifically, I was reading the delicious book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and couldn’t quite put it down to get my daughter her dinner.
Only the very best books can do this to me. And even then, if there are delineated chapters I can usually find a breaking point. But this book has both the sort of writing that makes you want to see what happens next, and is written in the form of correspondence. Breaking the book into sections based on letters makes it nearly impossible for me to stop reading. Just one more short correspondence, I think. And then boom, I’ve read another ten pages and my daughter has returned, surprised that her macaroni and cheese from a box is taking this long (yes – sad to say that I do often make this for her).
Crafting a story that has this type of intense pull is not easy. Even a fantastic plot, if paired with less than deep characters and precise pacing, will allow my eyes to wander from the page. Then, like most readers, my attention is lost.
Some friends and I were discussing Fifty Shades of Grey yesterday (a fairly one sided conversation as only one of us, not me, had read it.) Still, though I have yet to find it in me to pick it up, I could at least engage with our discussion about the mechanics of the story. Specifically, the person who had read it said that the writing wasn’t even that good. And yet, she was drawn to keep reading and to finish the book, not just set it down.
In fact, I have already heard this about Fifty Shades. But while the writing might struggle, to have created characters compelling enough that the reader sticks with the story in spite of its flaws says a great deal, I think, about the author’s talent.
Don’t get me wrong… I still say the very best books are the ones that have it all. It matters not which genre each person prefers. Within every category are books that sparkle like moonlight on wavy water. Perhaps, if you are like me, you too will find such a book in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Now, sorry to keep it short, but I have a few more letters to read.
I’m still waiting to hear about your favorite or planned trips. Leave a comment and let me know what journeys have inspired you, and I’ll enter you into a drawing where one lucky January commenter will win a copy of any one of Daniel Davidson's Travel Free Guides. Check back at the end of the month to see if you’re my winner. Please note –while I love and appreciate getting Facebook posts and Twitter replies, the comment must be made on my blog, using the blog form – this way all who see the blog post can engage in a shared conversation. Thanks.
(BTW - For those of you who don’t yet know of Daniel Davidson, he’s a travel writer with great advice on saving money while traveling. Check his website for more info: http://www.freetravelideas.com/)
NOTE: Thanks for all of the fun comments during the month of December. I am super happy to announce that is the winner of the $10 donation to the non-political charity of their choice is Catherine Castle. Congratulations Catherine! Please leave a comment and let me know to which charity I can donate in your name.
“After being married for 33 years there’s some things you just don’t tell them.”
Funny… there’s no part of me that thinks this way with my husband. I probably overshare. Split ends, digestive issues, menopause symptoms- nothing is off limits. Sometimes, it may feel like I am withholding, but this is simply because when he asks what I am doing, or who I was talking with on the phone, it takes me a while to recreate it in my mind.
Typically my brain goes through a convoluted series of hoops to reach a conclusion, (which may relate to my blog post last week about intuition.) I know it is related to the direction my blog posts take. I was late on this one this morning, and my husband asked if it was because I couldn’t come up with anything to say. After giving him the raised eyebrow expression that said, you must be crazy, I told him, “Finding something to say is never a problem.”
And yet…. With so much internal noise it is sometimes difficult to find the important thing to say. Or maybe it is my own protective way of not having to say it. I’m not sure on this. I just know that underneath all of the blogs about writing, or even drunk driving, there is a deep, deep river of untold emotion.
Of course a public blog may not always be the best spot to air these issues. (You don’t really want to hear about my awful fears for my 9 year old daughter, do you? If so you could save me lots of money in counseling bills). But really, really good writing has to come from this level- even if it is close to being one of Dante’s lower levels of hell.
Lately the discord between Commercial Romance and Literary Fiction has taken up a good chunk of my brain power. I have been reading about it, writing about it, thinking about it, and yet still haven’t discovered from where the real disagreement stems. I can point to many factors that aggravate it. But I can’t isolate any one problem that would resolve the disagreement once and for all. (For more on the debate read this blog post from May 23, 2013.)
I do know though, that the fact that most romance is written by women has to relate somehow. Observing my own hesitancy with writing the dark, difficult stuff, I wonder if this is something other women withhold also. Books
such as “Lean In,” lead me to think I could be on to something with this direction of thought.
After all… if we can’t even say some things to our spouse, how on earth can we say them to friends, colleagues, family or readers?
What sorts of things do you share or withhold from your people in your life? Do you find it easy or difficult to reach down and publicly explore the difficult subjects? I love hearing from my blog readers. And to prove it I’m giving away a copy of my book BETTING JESSICA to one lucky commenter during the month of September.
Leave a comment for any of my blog posts and at the end of each month I will randomly select one visitor/commenter to receive a free download of my book. (Note: winner will be notified by a reply linked to their
original comment…. Check back at the end of the month for directions on how to claim your prize!)
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Link here to Betting Jessica on Amazon.com