I used to think Jenny Slate was referring to a compilation of EM Forster novels. Then I read The Portrait of a Lady. And yeah, that's definitely what she's talking about. I even tried to appreciate the feminist message here, but the truth is that I don't relate to that goddamn story! Once I figured out that Isabel and Henrietta weren't having a secret lesbian relationship, it got especially boring.
Just read a Dilbert and go to sleep.
Now that a new year is upon us, I’m thinking, inevitably, about priorities.
I have a deep and somewhat obsessive love of lists, To-Do lists in particular. Some days are successes or failures based on what little box I can check off next to some little (or gargantuan) task. I finish books I hate just so I can mark them as “read” and prepare a short review about them. I put off so many things I would enjoy doing because I’ve filled my list with self-imposed obligations that I prioritize first.
Well, this year, I want to focus on other things instead. I don’t want to die wishing I’d spent more time playing video games (or, you know, reading books or spending quality time with family and friends)!
Many of you, I know, have new resolutions focusing on productivity and accomplishments. That’s wonderful, and I absolutely support those efforts. But I was talking to someone on January 1 who commented, “Productivity is my drug.” I knew exactly what she meant. And I know that I’ve taken my productivity effort too far.
So this year, less time making lists and checking items off. More time considering what I want to do at any given moment—and what the consequences will be if I don’t do something else—and making choices then.
How does that impact this blog, this oh-so-popular blog? My reviews may be a little lighter. And I may not post them all on GoodReads or on LibraryThing. Because the truth is that I hate to post negative reviews on those sites, especially for still-working writers.
In November, I read The Portrait of a Lady. I hated it. I was already burnt out on classics, but ordered it from the library it because I thought it was short. I was wrong—it’s longer than Moby Dick. And I hated the characters and the plot and the writing style throughout the whole thing. But I finished it because I wanted to have had read it, and the I basically collapsed in mental exhaustion. After that, I read a couple novels that I picked at random from Amazon because they were shorter and not “classics” and no one will care whether I like them or not, except of course the authors who are still living and working. I may post reviews of all of those books on here, and I may not.
This blog has always served as a way for me to spend writing time working on something other than my novel. Something lighter and less mentally demanding. So, I’m acknowledging that with the assertion that that is, with mindfulness, what it will continue to be. If a review is difficult and thinky enough that I’d rather be working on my novel, I’ll go do that instead. Because really, I’d rather be making progress on that. (Or, I may try to finish moving the rest of the blog archive over from my dead WordPress site, which is time-intensive but mentally easy.)
If you are a regular reader of this blog, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you. And please feel free to tell me what you’d like to see in this space. Until then, you may not catch quite as much of me here, but I still appreciate your support.
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