Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Unwritten, part 2

I read a lot. Mostly novels, contemporary stuff. Some quasi-hippie neo-classic shit like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Strange rambling epic stories like all of Tom Robbins books. Loved John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, but also A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers.

I’ve always found excuses to wander into a bookstore and just sniff the spines. For different reasons, I have the same love for danky oddly-organized dimly lit underground used book stores that I have for the bright huge chain stores that offer best sellers, a warehouse-sized store full of every book under the sun, and a mini pseudo coffee shop in the corner.

While you can’t beat the mystique and value of a mom’n’pop used book shop, I also love the smooth new books. You can just pull them off the shelf with that ffft sound and gently imitate it by wooshing your palm across the cover. Ffft.

Sometimes I’ll visit books I’ve loved… just to touch them again. Remind me of the feeling I had when I was with them. And to make sure certain title are there. Are they in the right place? On the proper shelf, waiting to be chosen so they can give those same feelings to someone new.

I love to pick up nice crisp new books, even if they’re old titles new in paperback, the actual book itself is new. Pages unruffled, spines unbent. Like a little gift waiting to be unwrapped; to share its story and dreams and imagined worlds.

If I haven’t read it, it’s new to me.

Even books I know nothing about by people I’ve never heard of attract me. I like to turn these books over and read the glowing quoted snippets promising “a journey like no other,” and “a mesmerizing tale” or “a world of infinite possibilities playing out in a small town.”


“A tour-de force.”

My favorites were the quotes about the author. “As compelling a first novel as has ever been written.” “A strong new voice.” “Perhaps the first great voice of his generation.”
That’s what I wanted to be.

But I was a sham. All my unused pens, still full of ink, and stacks of empty pages were proof that I was nothing. I wasn’t a writer. I was the first great waste of my generation’s voice. But slowly I was forcing myself to speak.


Phil said...

Wow...I just read this and was immediately reminded of myself. I have notebooks that I've purchased for the SOLE purpose of writing something lengthy. But they're mostly empty.

And not to mention the unread books that collect dust on my bookshelf these days. And they're GOOD books! Frustrating for sure.

Cold_Roses said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cold_Roses said...

awesome blog man. I love to read and write too...i mainly ramble out short stories that tend to go nowhere...but i've come up with some pretty good characters and names...i think one day they'll all fit together for a nice piece...mainly poetry does it for me....really like writing poetry.

i love irving too... i think the world according to garp is a masterpiece in story telling and character plot and development...really love it...right now i'm in a cormac mccarthy mode so i have two left to read of his before i complete him...really used to love to read old gangster books and newer ones too...but they all tend to be the same...loved the godfather and a nice story called the hoods (once upon a time in america was loosely based it)...anyways told me to check this blog out and it's cool...glad to see we have some similar interests other than ryan adams. ;)

Mrs. P. said...

You need to read Letters to A Young Poet by Rilke...if you haven't already. Trust me.