Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Finding the Right Voice

I'm sure there are millions of people around the world who do not experience a tailspin in their life when they are between books. I'm not one of them. If I don't have a current book to read, people die.

Okay, okay, maybe not die. But Cody suffers. There's only so much of my undivided and disgruntled attention the man can take. When I don't have a book, Cody, who loves nothing more than to come home from work and stay home for the evening, is suddenly happy to escape the house at any hour of the night to obtain me one. The only thing that keeps him home are bookstore hours.

Not having a book gives me time to reflect, time to notice the world around me, like the dust on my bookcases and the cat hairs that have accumulated behind my dresser, how hot it is outside, the wailing screams of children playing on the jungle gym outside my apartment. Things best left unnoticed. And without an alternate world to escape into, I find I can't resist pointing out to Cody things he'd rather I remained blithely unaware of, like the gray hairs that have cropped up in his sideburns and the fraying hems of his favorite shirt.

I also tend to roam the house restlessly, which works well for the first hour or so, when I'm in constructive clutter-picking-up mode. After that, I begin to start working on those "someday" projects, but there's a reason they're put off until someday, and I usually end up creating more of a mess than accomplishing anything.

I've been without a book for a full twenty-four hours now. I'm antsy. Cody's noticed. I see the worry in his eyes.

It's not that I don't have books to read, either. I have twenty-seven fiction novels in my TBR pile. The problem is that none of them sound right. I don't feel like reading the latest Brandon Sanderson/Robert Jordan novel, hoping instead to wait until I have the final three before beginning one (in case I simply can't help myself and NEED to rush through to the end). The #14 Janet Evanovich book looks good, but I just finished reading #13. I have to pace myself with her novels. I love them too much to rush through them all at once. Gail Carriger's second novel looks intriguing, but I know I'm not in the mood to appreciate her voice. (And just in case you didn't know, Carriger is a former NON novelist.)

I have a few new-to-me authors on the shelves, but this restless feeling has really taken hold, and I don't want to miss out on a good author because I'm in an agitated frame of mind, erroneously thinking their stories aren't good when it's actually me who's off. I have just as many books that have been collecting dust on my TBR shelves, and I don't feel like picking them, either. They haven't sounded right for months, and they still don't. Pretty soon they'll be shuffled out of the rotation.

Where does this leave me? With a very problem I know is silly, but a problem nonetheless.

I went to the bookstore today. Nothing looked good. I'm going to give the library a chance tomorrow. I strongly suspect that this will be the perfect solution. In my agent hunt, I came across Bruce Campbell's novel, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor. Having fallen in love with Campbell on Burn Notice (he plays Sam) and then again as the voice of the mayor on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, I'm curious to see what his writing is like. I have a feeling this book captured the attention of my book-reading muse, and she's not ready to try anything else until we've seen this novel.


Anonymous said...

Books and chocolate... A husband's best friends.

Rebecca Chastain said...

Wise words, Mr. Anonymous.