Thursday, May 28, 2009
homesick. (a letter)
He started back, and begging pardon, protested that he never read novels.—Jane Austen (about Mr. Collins, who else?)
(Dear fiction, Dear everything in the best part of the library, Dear everything I haven’t been reading…)
It has been such a long time, I know. So many weeks since I’ve had a novel to read, too many days since I’ve dragged some poor book around, anxious to get to the finish, curious about the characters, laughing over dialogue…
Something’s happened to me, something unaccountable: I have completely lost my appetite for reading fiction.
I know that there are people who don’t care about novels, who don’t read fiction, who aren’t concerned about this sort of thing—what’s abnormal about not reading fiction?
But it’s different for me—I’ve been reading at least one novel, and, um, sometimes four at a time, for as long as I can remember. Even when I was taking three lit classes at Calvin (yes, three!! I loved it!), I still was working through a novel on the side. (It took me forever to finish, but I was still reading…)
So what’s happened to us, fiction? Where did you go? Is it because I’m writing a novel, is that it? And yet, that doesn’t make sense. I don’t completely buy it. All those writing books shout at me to keep reading (something I never thought would be a problem), so clearly, I should still be seeking you out.
Besides. Don’t chefs eat? And fashion designers wear clothes. So why can’t I muster up an appetite for fiction like I used to? Why am I barely reading at all?
Fiction, I miss you.—jl