Today I’ve started my own personal moratorium on reading books. I admit it’s not the healthiest stance for a writer to take. But due to the complete indifference with which my own novel has been met by the world, I feel my decision to be entirely justified (see Missing Zero eBook at Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/missing-zero-lorem-ipsum/1114301801?ean=2940045109604)
Everyone says a writer needs to be widely read. Well, I’ve done that. I’ve read my way through a large chunk of Western literature. From Hamsun, Herman Melville and Gogol through to Iain Banks, Hunter S and Philip K Dick. I’ve read ’em all. Enjoyed them, too, mostly.
But enough is enough! I’m Beat – and my inner Neal Cassady’s feeling about as jittery as a jack rabbit juiced up on java. I can’t sit still; I’ve got to do something. Something to save my novel from sinking into oblivion, like a shipwrecked Spanish galleon consigned to the ocean floor’s murky depths, its cargo of untold treasure lost to all.
Forgive me. I’m getting carried away by own personal sense of loss. We writers are a self-obsessed lot. What I’m trying to say is that I’m starting a hunger strike, a hunger strike of the soul. I’m not holding anybody else accountable, believe me. My protest is aimed solely at the muses who led me astray in the writing of my novel to begin with. Although, admittedly, by not reading the esteemed works of others I seek to express my dissatisfaction with the status of unsigned authors, more generally.
Stupid? Most certainly. Childish and self-centred? Undoubtedly. But I don’t feel I have much choice left to me as an alternative. Certainly, also, by not reading it leaves me far more time to write, which I am using to create this blog among other things. Stuff Hemingway and Tolstoy, good riddance to George Orwell and Truman Capote! I’m going to listen to my own wise counsel for a change and indulge my own literary whims and fantasies.
And if you’ve followed me this far, I suggest to you that you do the same. Don’t waste time endlessly pouring over the “supposed” masterpieces of world literature, go and make some of your own. Anyone can claim to be a brilliant reader, but not everyone’s got the guts to be a failed novelist. Just get used to going hungry, now and then, and (like me) you’ll do fine!