Thursday, May 8, 2014

truth and books.

I am in a full-on writer's funk.  See also: unmotivated; uninspired; lazy; boring.

While extremely frustrating to not feel capable of putting together a coherent thought worthy of your attention, not writing means that I'm finally getting around to reading books that I've had on my list for a while; ones that my book club, which I'm dangerously close to getting thrown out of, discussed months ago.

I guess for an aspiring writer, there are worse activities than reading with which I could occupy my time.  Getting lost in a good book expands my vocabulary and my imagination, and it's definitely better than rotting my brain on reality television.


I'd hoped reading might be motivating and helpful in shaking my springtime writer's fog, and in some ways it has.  But the books I've been reading lately have been so wonderfully layered and completely captivating, I've also felt inferior and therefore less inspired, less motivated than before.

I mean, how could I ever weave together the true achievements of a historical character (from Charleston, SC!) within an enchanting work of fiction, the way Sue Monk Kidd does in The Invention of Wings? And Jordan Belfort's account of his over-the-top life in the Wolf of Wall Street is far more interesting than anything I've ever done or will likely ever do, so why bother?

What could I possibly write that hasn't already been written?

I finished Me Before You on Sunday afternoon after just a day of reading.  As I was wiping the ugly tears off my swollen face from the novel's heart-wrenchingly beautiful ending, I checked Instagram.  A blogger/photographer I follow had posted a picture of her young daughter, along with a quote by C.S. Lewis:

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

I have read it a dozen times since then, and thought about it even more.  Though I suspect my struggles with motivation and doubt happen to everyone at some point in their creative process, I felt as though the writing Gods were speaking right to me with that quote.    

Feeling inspired, I immediately started three blogs that I'd been thinking about, but proving that even C.S. Lewis can't cure all that ails me, I quickly got discouraged and gave up.  I picked up and read, The Fault in Our Stars instead.  I finished it yesterday, again with ugly tears and a swollen face. 

(Side bar: whatever you do, do not Me Before You and The Fault in Our Stars consecutively.  Bad idea.)  
Another book down and now a blog post?  Maybe C.S. Lewis is making an impact after all.  I can't promise you'll read any award-winning, life-changing prose over here, and I can't be sure that what I think or write will be terribly original, but thanks to my mom, I definitely know how to tell the truth.

And that's what really matters, right?

Plus, she thinks I'm funny, and she reads constantly, so I know she knows what she's talking about.


Next on my reading list is Brain on Fire, a memoir of a journalist who went mad - which sounds frightening and a lot like my real life - maybe my book club picked it in hopes I will return?


It's good to be back, telling my truth.  


  1. I've been wanting to read the Fault in our Stars, heard nothing but great things about it! I'm reading The Night Circus now, and it's pretty great, very fantastical. Last fall I read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, I thought it was a really great book about the creative process, she really drives home her view that creativity is a habit you have to cultivate (and that is super hard to do!). Plus, she's a choreographer so there are interesting anecdotes about her dances.

    Also, you write about music you love a lot, have you ever written any songs? or you know, poems that someone else puts music to? Could be a fun little exercise to get those juices flowing :).

    1. I have never written a song, Kerri - but that would definitely be a challenge! Thanks for the book suggestions. The Creative Habit sounds awesome. And yes, The Fault in our Stars is GREAT. Hope you're doing well!