Reading & Writing Doldrums


The doldrums require patience and, among other things, a stronger sense of audacity to break free.

Who’s to say when and if audacity to write returns.

Reading-wise, it’s now a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel called “Autumn of the Patriarch.” And so far I’m staying with it, interested in both its content and style. It’s helped.

Wading in full-explosion novels seems to re-kindle the connections between reading something creative and launching an effort to do it oneself.

(purpose of this blurb was to continue this series of posts on the May-June blues as muttered in installments below).


Where are the usual book reports? And where is my latest novel draft?

Recent bouts of unsatisfied reading with stops and starts. Somehow it’s tied to not writing. Feeling frustrated with both activities has extended the dry spell. It’s been difficult to get to the Place.

Being hung up is not an unusual situation for a writer. There are many factors.

Writers often need some remedy or sea change to get back to re–find the vibrancy and focus of the Place.

But of course getting there can be complicated. Vows and affirmations don’t make it so.


Since the first post (below) of this string, I’ve read part of “Lila” by Robert Pirsig. Wish it were otherwise, but couldn’t stick with the conflation of fictional narrative and philosophic essay.  I had to jump to text that’s more cleansing like by Raymond Chandler or Elmore Leonard, where “sentences say what they need to say and leave the stage.”


Books are turning over fast lately. Lots of rejections. The table has been empty more often than not. Nothing has hit it for me.

Hoped it would be some PD James but as good a writer as she is, I just couldn’t hang with the whole book.  There was that loudening sense of being in a movie theater, trapped in another of Hollywood’s cloying middle sections that they pawn off in the name of character development.

Tried re-reading some bookcase faves but due to my distraction, they left me in the same cotton-headed condition.  Ventured back to Proust and went about fifty pages deep in “Guermantes Way” – no harm done.  Actually the narrative was getting better, but after the first two big ones, it’s time to take a long Marcel break.

I went to “Solitudes” by an old Spanish poet named Luis Góngora. It’s loaded down with classical myths material, not the kind of content I care too much for, but his language and poet’s toolbox are remarkable. He’s from John Donne days. His “Gongorisms” are extended conceits with (back then) radical use of imagery and metaphor.

nauseaAfter a few days of blah’s approaching illness, plus some bedrest and some magazines, I picked up Sartre’s novel “Nausea” again.

Even in cheerful Florida one can get the yips.

Each time Sartre’s book gets better. Crisper. Bleaker. Sadder…and truer, if you have journeyed down the road and can recognize or are experienced in existential dread.