Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Recuperating - Book Style
I had surgery two weeks ago. Nothing major and I'm just fine, but my orders were to spend a good amount of time on the couch recuping. I laughed, because, as a writer, that's pretty much what I do all day anyway. Me and my laptop, recuping for the last five years. :)
I had great expectations for these weeks. Mandatory time on my bum, no laundry, no cooking, no running errands or carpooling kids. It was like a prescription for productivity! I was going to come home and write up a storm.
Only it hasn't worked out that way. At first, I blamed it on the anesthesia and pain meds still floating around. Foggy brain. The first few days I slept, and then graduated into reading, and then, as my head cleared, opened the computer.
So I blogged a little. And read. And when my brain cleared all up and I stopped being tired all the time and my fingers were ready for typing... I still couldn't write. There's stuff in my brain, but it's like a jumbled mess of puzzle pieces. Too much work to put together.
So I read some more.
I've read a lot.
And I've decided I'm not really recuping from surgery. I'm recuping from school.
Some people call it a post-MFA funk. But I don't feel funk-ish. I'm not depressed about school being over (well, not too much). I'm not fearful I'll never write anything again. I'm not totally sapped of inspiration or ideas or motivation. My brain just needs a bit of recuperating... of filling up what was depleted through the intensity of the past two years.
I've been mostly reading books that didn't fit on my reading list - reading whatever strikes my interest. I read A Stolen Life, about the Jaycee Duggard's kidnapping and life in captivity. I followed that with Escape, the also true story about Carolyn Jessop's time in the FDLS and an abusive polygamist marriage and her escape. Cheery stuff, no?
I kept in my non-fiction trend and read Devil in the White City, which is a book I bought my first residency at the urging of a friend and never found a place to put it on my reading list. So glad I finally got to it! Fascinating story. I've talked so much about it my family feels like they've read it, too.
As a Penn Stater, I've been eager to read the new biography of Paterno that came out right before my thesis was due, and I spent the later part of last week reading that. I don't know what I was expecting about that book, but I was surprised by it. It may be about a football coach, but I took away a lot of lessons about self-motivation and focusing on what is really important in life and career. I actually read this book with a highlighter in my hand. If I were still in college, I would have written these quotes out and hung them above my bed with my other motivational sayings.
I just finished Thirteen Reason's Why, my first fiction since I got home. I'm thinking maybe I'm just too old now for YA books. I want to like them, but I just don't get why people flock to this book and give it such high ratings. I get that it tackles the popular and sensitive topic of suicide, and to an extent bullying (if that's not too general a term for what the main character goes through), but I think there must be much, much better books out there on this. It's a unique and grabby hook, I'll grant you that: suicidal girl leaves behind tapes naming the people who pushed her over the edge, and what they did that caused her to kill herself. But I didn't like the execution of it, and it was painful to finish. I so wanted it to be better.
I'm now reading Gone Girl. I hear it's fantastic. Or totally awful. Depending on who you are. I've been told I have to get to the last chapters to decide for myself. I kinda hate that... that a book can be great until the end, and then have an end totally blow it for you.
I'm also reading Tenth of December, a new book of short stories by George Saunders, in hopes that my brain mush will regenerate into something more akin to a writer's. I'm thinking it's about time to just force myself to write, even badly, just to get in the habit again.
And no, self, blogging doesn't count anymore. :)
What are you reading?