Saturday, September 04, 2004

quite a corner... 

...I've painted myself into. Actually, I've written myself into it, and I'm wondering what to do about it.

Durning my lunch hour yesterday I stopped at the West Hollywood Library, which is not far from my place of business. I originally just wanted to see if I had returned Red Dragon, because I couldn't find it at home and I wanted to turn it in, along with Family Pictures.

(By the way, I love Sue Miller's work and I recently realized why: her writing reminds me of John Irving's, whose books I've fallen in love with. Not so much the surreal, yet strangely believable situations, or the gentle humor. She's a bit more earnest. But her use of language and her talent for describing the many kinds of family dynamics is favorably reminiscent of Irving. I strongly recommend her books.)

Well, I hadn't, but while there I thought I'd take a look at the stacks. Because heaven knows the piles 30-odd books sitting on my computer and dining tables (and which seems to grow every bloody week - damn those boxes of free books - this week alone I've acquired books by John Updike, Isaac Asimov, Ed McBain, Arthur C. Clarke and Piers Paul Read - all authors I already like or have thought might be interesting - but I digress) just aren't enough.

I remembered enjoying Nick Hornby's Songbook and, with my recent musical mood, it seem natural that I should gravitate towards his work, even though I am in currently reading Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut (a good book thus far, though I'm barely into it, but not an easy read). So I look at his books and decide to go with, unsuprisingly, High Fidelity. After all, music is a huge part of it, it's been recommended by practically everyone I know and I enjoy the movie.

(Question: is there a straight woman alive that belongs to my generation that doesn't have even the teeniest crush on John Cusack? Mmm hmm. I thought not.)

So. I picked up the book and started reading as I walked down the street to get food. I read it in line. I didn't read it on the way back to work because my hands were full, but I did read it at the bus stops and on the buses. By the time I got home I was already half-way done.

Earlier, at work, a line flew through my head. "But he meant well!" I knew I had to write it down, so I took a quick break and did so, then I proceeded to dash off half a page. When I got home I futzed on the computer a little bit, then had an idea for the next bit of the story. Before I knew it two and a half more pages had been written. As I read it over I realized that my style had been influenced by Hornby's, but was still my own.

Well, today I did something I hadn't done in a long time. I sat down in my home, on my very own sofa/loveseat/whatever, and just finished reading the book. Of course I loved it. Of course I want more.

That dovetails nicely with that corner I mentioned at the start of this entry: I may have to read nothing but Nick Hornby's work until I finish my own story, else my words may take on the flavor of another writer, as I unconciously tend to do when the author I'm reading has a strong style.

Then again, I may not have that problem after all. Back when I read Songbook, I noticed that my own way of phrasing and starting sentences with conjunctions is not unsimilar to his own. I had even pointed it out to CuteNerdBoy during an e-mail exchange, telling him that found that rather gratifying. He agreed that there were a few similarities, though he pointed out, "Although he's terribly English, and you're...not." Which is true, but I am an unabashed Anglophile, so maybe that accounts for some of it.

Or not.

Spending a month or so with Nick Hornby, with his words? I can think of worse ways to pass the time...

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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