Sunday, October 30, 2011
As a young person, I loved reading novels. Growing up it was Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and classics like Little Women, of course. I read Ivanhoe because there was a character named Rebecca in it, but I don't remember a thing about it. I think I read it to please my father.
As a young adult I found authors I loved so much I read every one of their books, such as Walker Percy, Gunter Grasse, Don DeLillo and Margaret Atwood, for instance. Later I got hooked on the central and south American magical realists, like Julio Cortezar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the great Isabele Allende.
Right around age thirty, my interest in novels evaporated. I started reading non-fiction then; I've never looked back. People lend me novels all the time, saying, "I know you don't read fiction, but THIS book ..." I open these books but try as I might, can not get myself interested in the characters or plots. After a few pages, I sigh and shake my head sadly, put down the fiction, pick up my history, biography or science books, with which I am fascinated, spellbound. There is so much to learn!
Of course there are exceptions, for instance I read all the Harry Potter books. I've read a couple of Dan Brown books because they captured the public imagination. Should say I read them as an exercise in sociology because that dude is a terrible writer, holy cow. But he knows exactly how to put his finger on the societal pulse beat of the moment. For that I admire his work.
Right now on the iphone I am plodding my way through the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. Those books are very fun, a guilty pleasure, like reading People magazine.
Because I signed up for National Novel Writing Month, I've been trying to imagine a plot, I've been inviting my mind to create some characters. It's rather hilarious that whenever I try to "see" my novel, my mind becomes a total blank, an empty canvas, a pure, clear, tranquil space. This morning while meditating, instead of the usual ways of focusing (such as on my breath, or using a mantra), I simply opened my mind to allow room for the novel to come into being. Every thought vanished within seconds!
It's likely I will not be writing a novel in November. I'll write something, but I'm dubious it will be fiction. However I am very grateful to have discovered the absolutely greatest meditation technique I've ever used. And it's funny, too. Oh yeah!