My ability and my inclination to write are both returning.
The first steps came from a conversation with Mary, from her suggestions and how thinking on them forced me back into LiaGH. I’d been passive too long, finding an odd sort of contentment in lamenting my inability to write, but could no longer remain so as the first new ideas in weeks popped into my head. I had need to write them down. From those first few several other ideas sprang, plot points which I think will improve the novel and make the characters within more complex.
I didn’t want to lose the inertia of this good start, and so redoubled my admonishment against my reading proclivities, how lately I’ve been reading next to nothing by junk articles and science blurbs. There’s nothing terribly wrong with the latter, any more than there’s something wrong with being told the right answer but not how to arrive upon it, anyway, but the former is pure brain degrading junk-fodder.
I finally finished Sirens of Titan. I didn’t care for it. It seemed as if it were Vonnegut’s attempt to write The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, swapping out the light and silly British tone for a bleaker, more fatalistic one. The book read as I imagine space travel feels, where everything is hard, where the very nature of the medium in which one dwells is fatal. On Earth, save for a few places, one can relax and be assured of survival. In space, a moment’s relaxation means death from one of any million different threats. Sirens of Titan seemed fixated on illustrating the many terrible and pointless things a person might do and how, regardless of them all, his life is ultimately and utterly meaningless. In a sense, Vonnegut kept all of his own bleaker points and combined them with all of the elements from Adams that I don’t like.
Regardless, I’m through it. More fuel in the tank, more pressure behind the block.
What finally cleared the line and made continuing a story, any story, seem worth while was that when I put down Sirens, I picked up Lord Foul’s Bane. It isn’t so much the content, as I’m yet on the fence as to whether I like Donaldson’s writing style, as it is the sudden influx of continuous prose. I’ve pushed enough new information into my head so as to blast the way clear of obstruction. Ideas of my own can start circulating again.
In an effort to keep the line open, I’ve ordered three new books. The Maltese Falcon, Fire in the Hole: Stories, and The Big Sleep. I normally shy away from reading books in the same genre as what I’m writing, fearing that I’ll draw too deeply on them and end up writing something merely derivative. This time, however, my own book is already written. Whatever edits I make can’t change the core of my story, or the novel’s own idiomatic tone.
I’m excited to start working again. It’s good to be clear once more.