My brilliant best friend is going to be a guest blogger tomorrow. I'm SO excited! She's the one with the prettiest baby in the whole world. I hope everyone will pop by and say hi. :-)
I'm finally done with the gig that's been taking up a ton of my blogging time, so I should be around more, responding to comments quicker, getting to your blogs quicker! And I stopped following all Blogger blogs because it messed up Google Reader, but know that I am still "following" you.
Onward and upward.
While reading more Margaret Atwood last night, I was mentally flogging myself for not writing better descriptions, for not observing people, life, and the world more closely, for not seeing what others see but don't realize they see until someone points it out. (That's where the cool stuff is.)
And it occurred to me that the fact I find this self-flagellation relaxing might be a little weird.
Not only do I find it relaxing, but I often enjoy a good self-mockery session, with plenty of snark and sarcasm so sharp, if someone else said these things to me, I'd be in tears. I needle myself relentlessly, point out every single fault I can find. I push myself as I write, taunting myself.
All of this I find comforting. Peaceful. Relaxing, as I said.
It's sort of bizarre. I might even say I take hope in it. As I tell my students, if you can notice it, you can fix it.
Like take Jeffrey Deaver: I thought the beginning of his latest, plot-wise, was just a little weird, but my God! His voice just takes your breath away! It's perfect: the rhythm, the words, the style. It's so alive, so vivid, so strong and polished:
Something nagged, yet she couldn't quite figure out what.
Like a faint recurring ache somewhere in your body.
Or a man on the street behind you as you near your apartment. . . . Was he the same one who'd been glancing at you on the subway?
Or a dark dot moving toward your bed that's now vanished. A black-widow spider?
But then her visitor, sitting on her living room couch, glanced at her and smiled and Alice Sanderson forgot the concern—if concern it was. Arthur had a good mind and a solid body, sure. But he had a great smile, which counted for a lot more.
What kind of person am I, to find the fact that I have a lot of work to do relaxing?
Maybe it's because I know I won't run out of things to improve anytime soon. Maybe it's because I know what I need to work on. Maybe it's because when you have some tangible task of improvement before you, you needn't worry about such things as talent.
When a writer really rocks, I get so excited. It's such a cool, exciting thing to read, you know? It's inspirational, too, makes you stretch and discover new depths of writing craft.
So what do you think? How do you feel when another writer kicks your ass?