I don’t know about you, but reading people’s posts and seeing them publish their books, is beginning to make me wonder whether I have what it takes and sometimes its truly depressing.
Depressing because I have begun editing my novel and realised that I am putting too many commas where they shouldn’t be and that I have to chop so much text that it feels like I am sitting in an abbatoir about to take my pet cow to the proverbial sacrificial ceremony.
Okay… I know that I have what it takes, but the constant introspection is killing me…
And you know what depressed me today? I mean seriously depressed me to the point where I considered more than the usual double dose of lithium? And this wasn’t just “feeling a bit down” but more a serious journey with Dante into Purgatory kind of depressed?
I hate you like a younger brother who is always having to look up to his elder sibling in sheer wonder at his perfection. You know the hate borne out of love? Well that kind of hate.
I was reading his classic, “On Chesil Beach,” bought this last Saturday, and I have practically finished it. I effing bloody hate him. He writes what I want to write, the words flowing in the exact order, syntax in all the right places, thoughts that strike chords much like a Wagner piece does after a few whiskies.
Feelings are expressed in such a way as to make a reader, especially a sullen, cantankerous writer like myself, feel like his manhood has been shrunk to miniscule proportions as he is standing next to someone with tackle of elephantine, no mammoth, proportions. Ego shattered. Brain reduced to a puddle of … well enough of that.
Do you ever question your own abilities?
I do, and generally the real soul searching questions involve copious amounts of stimulants like caffeine, cigarettes and once those have taken effect then alcohol to dull the pain of reading geniuses playing with language and emotions as if they were taking a stroll in the park.
The end result is that I know I have what it takes, but I cannot see it in a sober state, and bloody Ian McEwan is not helping.
Is this how writers are supposed to feel?
One hears of the pain that writers have to go through (and if you are anything like me, you have felt it too).
The inexorable pain of reading something so exact in composition, poignant, pensive and perfect makes me want to retch. It’s as near a physical retching as I can get without actually throwing up. The letters on the page get read, pass through my optical nerves and proceed to be assimilated through synapses and hit chords of memories that in turn evoke feelings, which then proceed to make me sick by their beauty.
And it’s not just bloody Ian McEwan! Julian “the pain of reading my books is pleasure” Barnes is another culprit who makes me retch. The list would get longer but there is only so much any normal person can handle!
So I am depressed because, in a wildly perverse way, I love inflicting pain on my metaphysical body by reading.
Do you ever feel like that?