Oh hai! I’m still here, believe it or not. I’ve been … well, this month has been … nonexistent.
What I mean is that I was just trying to get back into a writing routine after two weeks of vacation on the East Coast when — wham! I caught a nasty virus that lasted for three weeks. Three! Mr. Fog City Writer caught it too, and we spent two weeks moaning about our respective fevers, coughs, and sinus congestion while trying to maintain some energy to entertain the boy (who of course had the virus for only three days) and the dog. On the third week, my dad arrived for a weeklong visit. I got sick again, this time with a more typical cold, and, well. Here we are. All that’s finally over and done with, but just about nothing else is.
I’ve written almost nothing since the end of July, with the exception of the two-part revision post here. I’ve not been successful in completing revisions on a story that is oh-so-close to being done. I’m still coughing. I can’t summon the enthusiasm I had for writing the novel I conceived of over the summer. I can’t seem to remember what the novel was going to be about, even after I look at my notes.
On the plus side, I have read quite a few books in the past two months, most notably:
-Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. I had pretty much sworn off Hornby after reading two novels that failed to live up to High Fidelity and About a Boy. In Juliet, Naked, Hornby’s talent for dry humor is back and his ability to write about both music and the intricacies of personal relationships shines. I’m a renewed Hornby fan.
–This Boy’s Life, by Tobias Wolff. This one has been on my list for a long time. I read Wolff’s novel Old School earlier in the summer and fell for the writing, the intelligence (the vocabulary!), and Wolff’s subtle sense of humor. This Boy’s Life contains the same great writing as Old School — but my respect for Wolff grew exponentially reading it, because This Boy’s Life is a memoir. It could have easily been overdone, or maudlin, or full of bitterness, but Wolff managed to write a subtle portrait of a difficult childhood in the 1950s that is infused with humor and honesty. Really impressive.
–Brooklyn, by Colm Tóibín. This is my second attempt at reading Tóibín’s work – I tried The Master a couple of years ago but couldn’t get into it. I might try it again now that I know what the payoff will be: Tóibín is a masterful novelist. Brooklyn was amazingly detailed and well-crafted. I thought about it constantly when I wasn’t reading it, and though I finished it yesterday I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It was one of those books that makes me not want to pick up another book for a while; what follows will not be as satisfying.