Monday, 23 February 2009

Writing and reading

I've been a bit off fiction at the moment which is normally my favourite vice, but I can't seem to settle to a book at the moment. Maybe because I know I should be trying to finish the next draft of the novel I am writing at the moment. I still don't feel properly well though and having a head which feels like it's stuffed with cotton wool is not the best start for the complicated task of a third edit of a 90,000 word book. Or maybe that's just an excuse. Maybe what I'm really afraid of is that after spending a year on writing and editing it, if I actually finish it and submit it to agents and publishers they will once again unanimously reject it and I will once again feel like I've wasted my time and energy, and my confidence will again plummet. Obviously I'll never know unless I try and I really will try and pull myself together, but my confidence it pretty low right now anyway. None of my other efforts at novels have been published (well, unless you count this one which is self-published, but hardly a best-seller).
However, I have been reading some interesting non-fiction. United States of Hysteria: An Englishwoman's Journey Through the Madness of America by Anne Dixey is a memoir of a London woman who moved to Washington DC with her family 3 weeks before 9/11 and it is fascinating reading. Of course it is easy to be dismissive or scathing of another culture and ignore the bizarre things we do here, but there were many truly scary things in this book which made me appreciate little old England far more than ever before. Such as when Dixey's 5 year old daughter came home from school with the news that they'd been practising the drill for when a gunman is loose in the school (go into the toilets and stay very quiet!) after a gunman had shot 10 people over a 3 week period in the neighbourhood.
I'm just wishing that an American friend of mine who lives here now would write a similar book about her experience of the different cultures - I think that would also be a fascinating read!

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