Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It said haute cuisine on the wrapper - why is there a cheeseburger inside?

Been ploughing through a whole bunch of new books recently which has been rather nice, but I'm beginning to feel a desire to go read an old favourite. Not sure what yet. Its not an old favourite because its not old and it has yet to reach my 'favourite' status (although it might be a contender) but I might start with Coraline because I saw the movie on the way back from Oz. I loved the movie but I can't help feeling that I loved the book differently. Now I have to check, so a re-read is in order. Then maybe I'll re-read The Time Travellers Wife (again inspired by the movie which was good but not as good as the book) and then some books from Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series (definitely a childhood favourite). Since turning my writing ambitions into reality I find I read differently and these differences aren't necessarily an improvement. Sure they probably help me with my writing skills but they do tend to cut into the raw enjoyment of a book. There's too much assessment going on up front now. Still can't take that away now, even if I tried. But I'm wondering if its this change in my reading that has resulted in me finding less gems amongst the books I've been consuming? I wonder what I will find when I do some re-reading? Will the old favourites stand the test of time and my personal metamorphosis? I know The Wizard of Earthsea books still rock, as do the Little House on the Prairie series. I guess I grew up on a diet of confirmed classics, so now I have to eat a little more junk food in between the amazing stuff. I don't mind junk food but I would like a little more fine dining than I'm getting. Its especially disappointing when it says 'haute cuisine' on the wrapper but its still cheeseburger and fries inside (or something too sugary or insubstantial). A million customers can be wrong.

I had a scary thought last night while watching the movie "He's Just Not That in to You". I enjoyed it. Some of it is cheesy and a bit hokey in places but some of it really hit the mark and it was an interesting ensemble of actors. But the aspect that disturbed me was the general notion that if a guy doesn't ring you it clearly means he's just not interested. Is that how publishers really feel when they don't get in touch?

And here's an interesting factoid - I would spend more than 99% of my life waiting on submissions. That means less than 1% of my life is about hearing back from publishers or in discussions with publishers. Sure I don't spend that 99%+ twiddling my thumbs while I wait and a good proportion of that time will include promoting myself as a writer or my books, or creating new work, but my mind is always waiting, often impatiently or on tenterhooks. Is this constant ooze of adrenaline, this continual underlying stressor, good for my health?

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