Monday, September 3, 2007

The Long and Winding Weekend


We spent most of the weekend at my mother-in-law's house on the Chesapeake Bay. Here's a picture of the private pier. The figure at the end is my middle child with the family sitting around enjoying the beautiful weather while my husband fished. My husband is a fishing fanatic. He would rather fish than just about anything else in the whole world. When he night fishes, he fishes all night long. Even going so far as to pass out on the pier with his fishing rod still glued to his hands. Luckily the fishing gods were with us and so there was a whole lot of fish being caught at the pier today. Almost 90% of them caught by my 8 year old. She seems to have caught her daddy's fishing mania, and is already outfishing her daddy! The girl is a natural.

The long weekend also meant I got to read for fun. So I engulfed in one sitting Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner. Yeah, I know I'm late to this party but I loved this book! I was tearing and gasping and totally into this book. And when I was done, I thought to myself, "Self, your book is nowhere near as good as this book." And I felt blah for all of 30 minutes before I started kicking myself in the head trying to snap out of this morass of self-pity. This was actually a new experience and I don't know why it happened. I've read many great books while working on my book - some even similar to my book story - but they didn't cast me into a fit of depression. They didn't make me feel unworthy to have written a book. But why this particular book? Or was it maybe the timing? Was it because I was close to finished with my book and feeling particularly vulnerable? Nervous about actually being ready to start querying? I dont know what it was but it was such a particularly unpleasant sensation. As if someone told you your baby was butt ugly and then you realize they're indefensibly right.

It's been particularly hard because I've lately been editing off my husband's comments. I've asked him to be tough, and he is definitely being tough. He's caught alot of good changes and I know it will be so much better after his changes. But he is a slow reader, and he keeps falling asleep while reading my book. I get pages from him where the pen has leaked slowly into a pool of blue or black where he pressed the pen tip into the page as he dozed. Or where the pen leaves a large mark straight across the page where his hand slipped as he fell asleep. I keep getting these bits and pieces of my chapters every few days from him with visible signs of where he fell asleep and I keep thinking, boy I sure didn't write a page turner! Maybe I should remarket this as a cure for insomnia instead! I mean, he's only had it for all of 3 months now and he's given me back 4 chapters of a 17 chapter book. At this rate, I might be done next year.

Oh well, I guess I should be grateful that he is reading it at all.

11 comments:

Patti said...

my husband also edits my books, and he hates to read!, so i take what he says seriously. the oic made me sigh as i feel i need to get to the water...have i mentioned i live in texas? gaaaa...you are lucky to have this place.

Patti said...

oh, and i linked you!

The Anti-Wife said...

Don't be discouraged. Walk away from your book for a few days and enjoy your life. When you return your eyes will be fresh and ready to take up the challenge again.

Ello said...

Thanks Patti! How cool! I'll link to you too!

AW - will link you too! I think you're right. Need to put it down for awhile. Will do just that!

Cheers!

Lisa said...

I don't know what it is that sparks the moments of intense doubt that seem to plague us all. I think for you, it is knowing that you are getting close to sending your work out into the world and not knowing what will happen. I can tell, based on your thoughtful posts that you are a wonderful writer, so just know this dreadful sensation will pass. You have come so far and I know you'll go the rest of the way. Step away and give yourself some time. That indomitable spirit of yours will be back soon :)

Ello said...

Thanks Lisa! Your encouragement is great and I do agree that it is because I'm so close and I'm becoming nervous about what is to come. But I won't be nervous. I'll just write about it!

Cheers!

March to the Sea said...

Reading for Fun?? What is that?

sylvia said...

do not have any doubt on this. i know this is something that you have worked very hard on and it will be on the map as one of the greatest books ever published. i can't wait to read it!

pacatrue said...

Yeah, it's really hard to know how much to worry about a lack of interest in a book by a spouse or friend. I guess the question hinges on whether or not your husband is the real target audience. Now, I, like probaby most writers, think everyone is my target audience. We want everyone to enjoy what we've written. But the truth is that most people don't like any given book. The Kite Runner, which you think is brilliant? Probably bore the hell out of half the nation. So, does your hunk of burning love normally sit around reading historical fiction, military fiction, generational sagas? If so and he keeps falling asleep, then you can worry and seek someone else's input. If not, then, probably not.

I wrote a novella a year or two ago that I poured just hour after hour of work into and a lot of emotion. I asked my spouse to read it. A couple weeks went by and so I printed it and placed it next to her side of the bed. Another couple weeks went by and I placed it on the computer keyboard. As far as I'm aware, she never read it and it really bugged me. But then, she never reads fiction of that kind and I'm not sure her lack of interest is any reflection on the story at all.

Ello said...

Sylvia my friend!

Hey Paca, You feel my pain! Just like your SO, mine just doesn't like to read. At all. So I guess I should be happy that he is willing to do so now, no matter how long it takes, but it is definitely hard to shake that feeling of their not being really into it. And you're so right about books being so subject to one's own personal tastes and everyone's tastes are so different. I'll just keep trucking!

Carleen Brice said...

Before I sold my book, The Kite Runner torpedoed me too. A friend sent me a link to an article about how it was being hand-sold by booksellers and word of mouth. She thought she was being encouraging. Not! It made me feel like my book wouldn't have a chance because it wasn't about a exotic culture that was suddenly on the whole country's radar.

Anytime somebody's reading your stuff it's hard. I used to have to leave the house when my husband read for me.

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