reading mojo: tentatively found
Two-and-a-half months ago, when I blogged about losing my reading mojo, I was worried that I might not read anything more substantial than the back of a cereal packet ever again.
You all told me that it’s normal to have times like this, that my love of books would return. But still I worried, because… well, I’m neurotic. And I’m a writer. Writers should read! Plus, there was so much stuff on my “to be read” list.
But (of course) you were right.
I still couldn’t read anything more than a (short) magazine article for about a month after I posted, but after that I had a copy of Bill Clegg’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man from the library that I was loathe to give back unread, both because I’d heard great things about it, and because it was short.
It took me at least two weeks to finish the 200 or so pages, despite it being well-written and completely compelling. But when I made it to the end, I felt like I’d broken through some kind of barrier. I’d finished a book for the first time in months!
Memoir is the answer
I’d always thought it might be a memoir that saved me. It’s the one genre I can usually count on, however bad I’m feeling. Maybe it’s the immediacy, the fact that most memoirs are easier to relate to than novels, the lack of page upon page of beautiful but slow description? Whatever. I knew if I wanted to keep reading, I’d need another memoir.
I found a copy of Julia Phillips’ follow up to You’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again (which is brilliant) in a secondhand shop. Called Driving Under the Affluence, it’s weird and far from brilliant, but her Hollywood lifestyle (even in the traumatic early-mid ’90s) was just escapist enough for me to be enamoured.
I’ve still started and abandoned one or two books, and the only novel I’ve finished lately is a very short ’80s YA (lent to me by the lovely Luisa Plaja). But I’ve read some memoirs for fun and for review — The Bedwetter, The Real Me is Thin, My Fair Lazy, You Had Me at Woof… and I’ve enjoyed them all.
I don’t want to jinx myself or anything, but I don’t think my mojo was gone. It was just on a break. And now it’s back, baby. (Maybe.)