Thursday, December 17, 2009

Undertow - Not a Book Review

I read Sue Grafton's latest Kinsey Milhone novel "U is for Undertow" on Tuesday.  Well, I started at 11 pm on Monday night, but otherwise I read the whole thing on Tuesday.  There are some people that say "Why read the whole book in such a short time-frame?  Why not let it linger, savor the story over a longer period of time?"  To them I say, "Why not buy tickets all week for the same movie and visit the theater each night to watch a little bit."  No, but I devour fiction.  Non-fiction can take me forever - "Three Signs of a Miserable Job" - it was mostly fiction and I had that part done in no time.  The last few pages are non-fiction and they're taking me forever.  Like weeks.  And the way I read fiction is probably also not the best for my family, I'll carry the book everywhere and any chance I get, I'll crack it open and escape back into that world. 

I didn't care too much for "U is for Undertow" but this isn't my review.  If I do review it, it'll be on Facebook with all of my other reviews.  But, there was one character I liked, a high school writing teacher.  In order to pass a class, the student needed to turn in writing every week over the summer.  At first, the writing was bad, but the teacher didn't hold back his criticisms.  And the student knew that he needed this to graduate.  So he began to realize that he needed to write consistently and he came to understand that he needed to write about what he knew. 

I think the first part of that is easier, writing consistently.  I can and should do that.  I've thought of myself as able to write, but then haven't done it as frequently as I'd like.    I've been writing the second part of the Heist forever.

It's that second part, writing about what you know, that's driving me crazy.  I don't feel like I know anything cool.  I don't have strong emotions, except occasionally frustration or anger, and that's typically towards work.  Used to have more problems while driving until I decided to always drive the speed limit.  Now I no longer have any frustration with whether I'm going to be able to make it somewhere on time or not because that's now actions that need to be taken before I get in the car, because that's going to take as long as it takes once I'm in there.  And the cars driving faster than me?  They're all crazy and I'm smugly better than they because I'm following the rules.  And the cars driving slower than me?  Yeah, they're still a problem, but they're more rare.  Though not last Sunday.

But, yeah, where does that leave me?  If you say "Write what you know." then suddenly I feel very dumb.  I have absolutely no interest in non-fiction, but I feel like I don't know enough about anything to make for a very interesting fiction story.  Or that it's going to be flat because I lack actual experiences to draw from.  And the images in my head, while rich, are sometimes difficult to draw out, or the detail required to give them life will bore people as it veers into non-fiction. 

So, this is my writing for today.  Not going to claim that it's much, but at least I'm doing it.  Should have done it last month for NaBlPoMo or whatever it was that Lori and everyone was doing.