Sunday, March 09, 2014

Occupational Hazard ...

I've never been a voracious consumer of fiction. I've always been more of a non-fiction kind of gal.

Some novels have thrilled me – my two all-time favorites are The Power of One and Animal Dreams and I inhaled the Harry Potter series once I bought the first installment to see what all the fuss was about and I love Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and The Tiny One by Eliza Minot and Hugh Laurie's The Gun Seller pisses me off it's so good and John Green's The Fault In Our Stars should forever stay a novel and not become a film, ditto Lauren Graham's "Someday Someday Maybe," though maybe that's destined for television, I can't remember – but anyway, as I was saying non-fiction is more my speed.

Which I reaffirmed today when I sat down to read a friend's novel, which he sent to me in exchange for a review.

I am so proud of people who publish. It is a feat unlike any other. A lot of people talk about publishing but most of them never do. So anyone who has the stick-to-it-tiveness to finish a manuscript and usher it into the world earns a lot of respect from me.

But the editor in me can't turn off that part of my brain. I want to, I really do. But I can't seem to not notice errors in punctuation or odd word choices or inconsistencies in tone.

Words are like notes. I hear they way they relate to each other. Passages are like melodies. And when I read a "wrong" word in a paragraph, it's as though I've heard a note that doesn't relate to the others in a song. It takes me out of the moment.

I find myself wanting to read with a red pen in my hand. Which is why I stopped reading a particular newspaper. Oy vey, the thing was loaded with errors. I presume it still is. I interviewed with a couple of folks there once. They really should have hired me.

I consume a lot of news online. A lot of news. Some might say too much. But I suspect that that's why I can ingest so much non-fiction, even if it's not the newsy kind. My brain is more forgiving of non-fiction works. I don't question the plausibility of things rooted in fact. I'm not going to question someone's autobiography. If that's what they say happened, that's good enough for me. Ditto memoirs. I'm especially interested in memoirs since writing about myself is what I know best. Which sounds egotistical, but hey, I've written a blog for nine years.

Though, given that this is the first post since February 27th, my blogging days appear to be on the wane.

Which is fine. Nothing lasts forever. Not even books. Though it's nice to have them around while they're here. Even if not all of them are my speed.