While procrastinating between revisions today I happened on the obituary of Thomas M Disch:
I hadn’t heard of him before but the descriptions of his writing (doom-laden speculation + the brave little toaster) caught my interest and I read the plot summaries of his books on Wikipedia. The one I would most like to read 334 as it sounds deliciously distopic. I want to go to Waterstones after work and see if they have it, which could be amusing given what happened when I went to look for Zelda Fitzgerald. (well I thought it was funny. The assistant jumped in to assist but all he could tell me was that they didn’t stock it – Femme and I then wandered out complaining loudly about how much Thomas Hardy sucks and yet they carry his entire output. The part I liked was articulate, knowledgeable us acting like children.)
I was also distraught to discover that I in no way was original in the idea of a corpse brothel as Disch wrote about one in the seventies. Is there nothing left for me to create? I suppose it just means reading more and trying harder.
Looking up these books reminded me of other books I long to read. It’s a long list of longings and I’m afraid to formalise it until I’ve conquered a little more of my current backlog. I estimate that I’ve read about 30 books in the last year but have gained around 10, leaving my ‘to read’ pile still perilously high (maybe 100? After I filled the available stacking space I stopped digging them out). Some of the pile books I bought years ago and it has been joyful to finally get to them and eat their lovely brains.
I am slightly afraid to go to Waterstones as I could easily fill a wheelbarrow with things I want to read. Despite this virtually the only time I spend reading is while commuting and on my lunch break. I usually find my house is too bustly and noisy and that cross stitch is much more compatible with the social environment. Of course I wouldn’t want to sacrifice cross stitch either. I have started planning my next design in my head, again for a friend who I hope will like it.
I’ve started to read the story I was writing as a teenager. On one hand I am impressed how much I tried to cover, how varied the character perspectives were supposed to be, but at the same time I can see how limited my knowledge and skills were at that time. I can see the old adage ‘show don’t tell’ flashing out of every page and on one page I used the word ‘such’ about 20 times – surprising as the first half I remember was extensively revised. I haven’t finished reading it yet, it’s quite long. I feel it could have potential, depending on what direction it was going in (I can’t remember what happened in the last 10 pages at all). I had no sense of pace then but the manuscript is mostly dialogue and the characters had a certain degree of individuality. The names are terrible and my naive conceptions of how idyllic such a post-apocolytic society would be are adorable but would have to go. What I do see in this is a lump of clay that I can now sculpt. What I will sculpt it into has yet to be decided.