“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King
With two cats dozing deeply, I’m currently sipping a hot cup of coffee in my pajamas in bed. While this is all very cozy, I’m actually hard at work. I mean not “at work” like working in a salt mine or even “at work” like the band who recorded that “Down Under” song. But today, I’m taking the work of reading very seriously today, as directed by the quote at the top of the post. By designating this morning and later this afternoon as the chunk of time where I’ll sit and read, I’m hoping that I can replenish ye olde creative well. As I whined about yesterday, I was feeling sort of drained and uninspired yesterday. My head felt fuzzy, my body was tired and all I wanted to do was watch Justice League cartoons on Netflix until I passed out. I was in need of a physical recharge, for sure. But I also needed a creative recharge too. Hence the reading situation I currently find myself in.
I’ve always been a book fanatic. I was one of those kids who’d get a book from the school book fair and have it done by the time school was over. Being in Beverly Cleary country currently is of no small significance to me as her books along with those of Judy Blume really taught me the foundations of storytelling and turned me into the book lover I am today. My mom owned a bookstore/frame shop during the late 80s thru the early 2000s which meant I could read whatever I wanted when I wanted. At the peak of my powers at age 20, I was reading like 2 books a week. It came second nature. 24 years and several thousand lost brain cells later, I am sadly not the reader I once was. I go through bursts of reading dozens of books and then dry spells that last months. I’d blame the internet but that’s bullshit.
In fact, the internet is chockfull of good things to read. I am trying to read things that like our dear Mr. King implies will help me write the sort of stuff I want to write. Therefore, I’ve been devouring all kinds of personal essays and interviews to assist me in my larger project which is compiling a book of collected essays. And so, in a clunky segue with zero chill, here are five spectacular things I’ve read recently and loved:
Jeanette Cooperman on George Hodgman: It is impossible for me to put into words how important George Hodgman and his beautiful book Bettyville are to me. It’s a such a lovely, funny, heartbreaking book and this profile of him is literate, lovely and wise.
Claire Foster on Loving an Addict: A real life buddy and writing mentor, Claire Foster nails the heartbreak of loving and losing someone to addiction. This piece written for The Transformation Is Real (ran by another friend and inspiration Daniel Maurer) is truly beautiful.
Betsy Andrews on Tamales and Trump: Being the foodie nerd that I am, I am a sucker for great food writing and this political and profound piece by Betsy Andrews harkens back to the Gourmet magazine pieces I used to love back in the early 2000’s.
Brandon Taylor on Stevie Nicks and Elizabeth Bishop: The always thoughtful Brandon Taylor, whom I was introduced to on Twitter, dissects the words and lyrics of two icons while artfully tackling the subject of grief. Plus anything Stevie related is always a must read for me and this is a good one.
As I mentioned, I’m also reading the amazing Melissa Broder and excitedly awaiting delving into How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky so I should “get back to work.” However, I need to grab more coffee first as it doesn’t look like Larry will be any help in that department.
But do me a favor: please comment and tell what you’re reading and provide links. I know. I’m so needy. That’s me the needy reader. xo- S.