[Dear brain - really? TLC lyrics as soon as I woke up this morning? You are cruisin' for a bruisin', friend.]
Here’s how this works. I have a fleeting moment of “I’m gonna blog about that tomorrow” and then – as she is wont to do – my brain waits until I lie down to go to sleep (or in my case, when my eyes are burning and I have no choice but to close them) and begins writing the post. Right there. Laptop closed, head on pillow, scribbling in my brain – against my will. And I commonly have this reaction.
That was me, defiantly ignoring the writing going on in my head. And also secretly (secret from my brain, don’t tell her) trying to memorize it. So in the bright light of today, have I remembered those witty phrases? NOPE. Because I’m an idiot. So I am forced to bring this post to you in list form, forgoing all attempts to showcase my quality.
Whoops, now I’m thinking of Faramir.
(1) So, first things first. I need someone to diagnose this once and for all. (As in, do you do this – which means I’m normal – or do you not do this – which of course means I’m dumb.)
Most of the time when I stop reading a book it’s because said book has failed me. BAD BOOK! It doesn’t always mean the writing itself didn’t hold up, but usually. Sometimes, in rarer circumstances, it’s the main character. He or she no longer has my loyalty, probably because I can see the author in the character’s place and the latter’s being made to behave in a way I feel serves the book but isn’t honest. As in, the character’s been sacrificed for the needs of the book. And that means I’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’.
And so anyway. There’s another reason I put down a book. (This is the only part to which you really needed to pay attention.) On now three occasions, I’ve put down a book… because I love it too much.
Not nice, guys.
To date, I have put aside: A Mercy by Toni Morrison, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, and – presently – Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card. ToMo has a new new book out and I still haven’t gone back to A Mercy but I assume I will have to have the next one on hand before I will. Invisible Man all but destroyed me (with its beauty and precision) but I returned to it and am better for it – if I wasn’t able to write for several weeks after finishing it. Because please. Why. It is the singular book that made me go – no other books need be published forever amen.
This doesn’t mean I don’t love other books and wanna marry them over here and over there and in the sky and on a cloud. (There should be another explanatory picture here but let’s try to wrap this up.) Instead, I liken the experience of having to stop reading something to the way a film can be overstimulating. Except in the case of films, it’s not just the movie, it’s the music, it’s everything. It’s sensory overload. It’s overwhelming. Makes me feel anxious. (This is probably diagnosable too but quick, look over there!) And the thing about the overstimulating film? It doesn’t mean the movie’s “good” or “bad”. It’s an entirely separate quality that is sometimes irrational. I’m going to list a couple movies that have at one point or another been too overstimulating. Moulin Rouge – surprise, surprise, Baz Luhrman is on a list of films that made me feel like Ned Flanders in Las Vegas.
Flanders. Entering Las Vegas.
Happy Feet. My sister and nephew-son used to watch this constantly and I couldn’t even stand overhearing it. Couldn’t handle it. (Wait, maybe this is all Nicole Kidman’s doing!)
Tron: Legacy. This one’s a no-brainer. Daft Punk (DAFT.PUNK.) and The Grid. And this is actually the only movie of these three that I really like and wanted to not have rapid heartbeat so I could watch it properly. So I watched it a ton and now it feels normal.
Stop looking at me like that.
And so Speaker For The Dead. It’s too good. It’s overwhelmingly too good. It’s better than Ender’s Game. And I’m not even gonna duck because I KNEW I was gonna wanna read SFTD before I ever read Ender’s Game (which is AMAZING and you have to know that to be able to put this conversation in the proper perspective. It is THE science fiction novel. Period. And then I read Speaker.) In fact, I read an essay by the author that explained how Speaker was the story he wanted to expand and to do it, he went back and wrote Ender’s Game and I could read it out of order but NO. My husband would not allow it. Said nothing compared to Ender’s Game. And until I started Speaker, I believed him. Have mercy….I believed him.
In summation. Take that, brain, I wrote it all by myself. (Wait…) Well, I wrote it when I felt like it not when you tried to force me. And without tooting my own horn? Pretty sure I nailed it.
Oh wait, the list…