Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bad Book; Good Dog

I’ve been reading the same book since mid-March and when I reached page 612 today I realized the book sucks. For two months I’ve been berating myself for not reading more, for letting the internet, the TV, student papers, etc., pull me away from reading, and then today I discover it wasn’t really my fault. It was the book’s. True, I could have put the book down at anytime—I’m not one of those people who has to finish what she starts (which explains a closet full of craft projects beginning with 1970s plastercraft and ending with a sweater I’ve been knitting since 1999—but let’s not blame the victim). I was so convinced by this book’s cover, by jacket blurbs, by it’s sticker declaring it one of Richard and Judy’s choices (I assume this is the UK version of an Oprah pick—I bought the book in Ireland), and the subject matter that I just kept plugging through eight centuries of religious persecution and grail mythology to come to the conclusion—with only twenty pages to go—that this was not a good book. Perhaps it was historically accurate, but the writing and presentation was. Not. Good.

This always causes some anxiety—the bad books that get published. I could do this. I could do better than this. How does K.M. get her crap book about the Crusades published when mine just sits there, ignored by agents and editors alike? Well, here’s how: my book is invisible. It exists only in my mind and therefore is difficult to market. You can’t get bitter about someone getting all the publishing laurels when you have been busying yourself with postcard writing and season finale watching.

What I’ve been writing instead of chapters for the writing festival I’m going to in Aspen at the end of June: a journal for the Wonder Dog. I’m cracking myself up with it, putting words in his mouth, seeing things from his point of view, writing diligently every day. In yesterday’s entry he wrote about going to an Amish greenhouse where he was in awe of a horse. I’m thinking he might start a blog of his own. With my luck, he’ll get a book deal and I never will. His work ethic is stronger than mine. That’s all.

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