Of course all this does is reinforce the fact that I find it difficult to read fiction for pleasure any more. I don't get the same enjoyment from it that I used to. It doesn't have anything to do with editing Thrice because when I'm reading submissions people send that's for a whole other reason and I am actively looking for things. I'm talking about the feeling I got when I discovered Bruno Shulz or quite accidentally fell upon the genius of Flann O'Brien (aka Brian O'Nolan). It's not happening for me any more.
It's not because there aren't great things going on out there, even great old things I probably haven't discovered yet. The problem is I can't help but look at everything with a critical eye now. Again that's not because of the Thrice gig. It's more because I've grown more and more vicious regarding my own stuff and I find it carrying on to everything I read.
I mean it's not wholly unusual. Many's the time I would be reading, even in my yoot, something like, say, Arthur Conan Doyle. And I'd be happily wallowing in the atmosphere of the Great Detective's world only to come upon YET ANOTHER example of Doyle's stilted, ridiculous, unreal, affected, and amateurish dialog and throw the book across the room in disgust. So this isn't a new phenomenon.
It's just I find the feeling enhanced as of late.
Like I said, it's not just me-to-others. Mostly it's me-to-myself. I'll open up work I did just yesterday and I don't like the sentence structure or I see that this would have been better said with 40% less verbiage, or that whole paragraph has all the signs of being overworked, or this vignette has no business anywhere in the work at all. And I delete with relish. I think - and this is no exaggeration - I must write 40,000 words for every 2,000 I keep. And that's a conservative estimate.
So I either obviously suck at this or I'm hyper-anal. I guess it depends which day you catch me.
Back at the bookstore - I picked up two "literary" magazines. You know, the well-funded kind nobody in real life actually reads. And I'm going through them and I keep shaking my head. No no no. Oh God don't say it that way. Are you trying to be Victor Hugo? And so forth.
I finished my coffee and decided to head back to the car, convinced I could easily contribute something to either one of these two booklets in the future since what they're accepting is just so much shit.
And then I get home and go through my pile of things never submitted anywhere, only to find I don't like anything in it and no matter what I sent it would need a major overhaul before I'd feel good about presenting it. And there I am, convinced I could do better than these shmucks one minute and certain I don't have anything worthwhile to send the next.
Welcome to my world.
Well that's my lament today. In thirty minutes I've got to go off to my real job. 40 hours in three days begins in 3... 2... 1.
It's okay though. It was pointed out to me that, though my schedule is intense and all-consuming for 72 hours, I only actually work twelve days a month. That's a sustaining thought anyway.
Oh and, may I be permitted a "blast from the past" from an old blog post of mine? Why yes. Yes I may...
SEPARATED AT BIRTH...?
Sorry, couldn't resist. I just got done telling someone how I dislike celebrating revenge and now I go and republish this photo set. Just kill me now...