Well, the world is full of authors, even if I wasn’t sure I could count myself among them. So I set Winged Horse aside and picked up a novel I had started reading a while back. I won’t give the title. I enjoy the book more than not, but I had noticed some writing problems that were causing the book to drag. It dragged even more on Monday, to the point where I gave up after three pages, deciding the thing was no better than Winged Horse.
I moved on to Letters from Skye, which I read last summer and am now rereading preparatory to interviewing Jessica Brockmole, the author, in a couple of weeks. Nope. My brain refused to warm up to that, either. At this point, I began to suspect I was in one of those rare moods when I did not want to read. You see, I love Letters from Skye: tore through it in two days the first time. Ditto my next attempt: Laughter of Dead Kings, which although not the best of the Vicki Bliss mysteries is nonetheless a lot of fun.
By then, I recognized what had happened. If Elizabeth Peters couldn’t draw me in, no one could. I gave up. Thank goodness for YouTube and social media.
It wasn’t the first time I’d taken a mini-vacation from books. Even under normal circumstances, my reading has a hierarchy based on the amount of mental energy required. If I’m really humming, I read history—even history in Russian, although that demands a day without work, since there’s no way I can spend a full day editing academic prose, then relax with a nice historical study in Russian. Doesn’t matter how good the book is, it might as well be a dose of Sominex.
More often, I read my own books, if they have reached the stage when I can approach them as e-books, or other people’s novels—new ones first, then the beloved old friends. Excluding the history books, that was the progression I followed on Monday. But I just couldn’t get my brain in gear even for the reading equivalent of comfort food: books I have read before and loved.
Fortunately, my vacations from reading don’t last long. By Tuesday, I was again delighting in Letters from Skye and Laughter of Dead Kings. When we lost our power on Wednesday, and I could read but not work, I discovered that The Winged Horse was in not nearly as bad shape as I feared. With luck, I’ll get back to the unnamed novel in a few days; I’m sure it will move much faster when I do.
And I’ve begun plotting The Swan Princess, which is sending tendrils out into books 4 and 5. Gotta keep those creative juices flowing.
Besides, Nasan and her pals get so cranky when they have to sit on the sidelines for long....