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avant-garde_chauvintist wandering through the garden of ideals

Reading and writing

CHINA | Wednesday, 21 November 2007 | Views [493] | Comments [1]

I just finished a book by a writer.  

What a novel idea, you might be thinking.  A book...written...by a writer?

I know, I know.  It seems kind of silly. 

But this book wasn't just a novel.  It wasn't just a non-fiction piece on some interesting historical event.  It wasn't even an autobiography. 

It was a piece of writing that Joan Didion wrote about her husband's death.  And her daughter's fight with several illnesses.  It wasn't a even a memoir.  It was like nothing I've ever read.  And she pointed out continually her job as a writer throughout the lengthy chapters about diseases and struggling with grief.

She's old.  And she's been writing  for lots of years.  She sort of explored her years as a writer by relating things she had written or things her husband had written or things complete strangers had written to what was happening in her life.  She thought about what it meant then to her and what it meant at the time of writing. 

She reread books to gain the knowledge she had missed the first time.  She rewrote passages from her own novels.  She quoted passages from her husband's novels.  She learned and absorbed and described and thought.

It was an interesting way of explaining a life and a loss.  It was interesting, as an aspiring writer, to read her detailed journey from aspiring to struggling to successful to grief-stricken.

I learned. 

In my life, I've read several books.  Since I've been in China, it feels like I've doubled that number.  Reading everything in English I can get my hands on, I've traveled around the world and explored many time periods.  I've found myself closely reading books to gain inspiration from the almost otherworldly talent of the authors.  I've found myself editing books that didn't live up to the publication standards.  I've found myself becoming a better writer and a faster reader in the process. 

My eyes have gazed at millions of letters and hundreds of thousands of words, and I'm still furiously reading to try to take in even more. 

"I wish I had time to read for pleasure," I repeatedly lamented during college. 

Now, I want to go back and reread every single thing assigned to me to find what I missed in the first go round of skimming and writing papers on quotes that I just happened to turn to on the night before. 

It will be a long journey.  You know, reading everything ever written.  But I will enjoy it.  And, hopefully, I will become a marginally better writer because of it.

Tags: Relaxation



oh lea. i felt the same thing the other day. there is so much i should read, so much i need to read. anyways, i received a phone call from my peace corps recruiter and i'm officially nominated to teach English in Africa in September! don't know exactly when or where yet, but as soon as i get my health forms through, i should get an assignment! i miss ya! and i love ya

  gabe Nov 25, 2007 4:47 AM

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