Friday, June 17, 2011

Turned To Stone, Or, Closed Minds

I'm sitting here listening to Ingrid Michaelson's music, which isn't diva force but is spider-web strong. It's been another good day, but not the most productive of writing days. I'm not quite sure what a productive writing day would be for me--finishing a novel in a single day? Writing the entire New York Times Book Review section? I have a tendency of grading my accomplishments harshly. Particularly since most of the writing today was behind the scenes: an article on a library event tonight and a blog post on the blog that is designed to back up my resume with English instead of that resume-ese that I hate writing in. I'm not sure if any employers read it, but after reading a post today from my friend Robin I don't really have an excuse not to look it up.

Speaking of reading, or giving writers a chance...

A few weeks back I took up the challenge from a columnist who backed Naipaul despite his diminishments of women writers and decided to give him another chance as a reader. In her article (which I cannot find now, Lord love me) she stated that we shouldn't discount good writers just because of their beliefs. I'm in full agreement. Hemingway and Amis were/are as much of masochists as Naipaul, and yet I would gladly read them. Naipaul, as another commenter on another blog put it, is just "tedious." Tedious is kind. I found the best way to get to sleep was to read Naipaul, and that was with my reading glasses on. I had tried "A Bend In the River" when Naipaul first won the Nobel, and the cure for insomnia happened then, and this time it was "A House For Mr. Biswas," another yawner. I just couldn't justify any more than 87 pages of such behavior.

I'm sure there are vast and great societies of people out there who find Naipaul worth putting up with despite his views. Maybe someday I'll reach their intellect. But for now I find myself relishing the Pulitzer Prize of Jennifer Egan (um, woman writer who loves language and format), Jane Austen (a comedy-of-manners writer like Naipaul who knows how to love language, and, um, a woman), and "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson (another comedy of manners by a woman who can make south Asian and Middle Eastern characters look more intricate and regal than the British).

Life is too short, I say, for V.S. Naipaul.

Going to take a walk, grab a cup of coffee, and get in some fiction rough drafting before my library event tonight.

Write on.

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