I’ve been reading… a lot. There really hasn’t been much else for me to do here. I decided not to get cable when my satellite didn’t work out. I have a PS2 and a membership at NetFlix, 30 days on Warcraft, and the internet. Books are where I go to be with people and to escape the walls of my apartment. I can go and meet up with some people who have been with me through everything: Vonnegut, Picoult, Hornby… and even some people who I just met: Card, Hosseini, Weiner (don’t laugh).
Attempting to write my novel has made me go back through everything I’ve read and try to figure out why I like it. Why does High Fidelity always remain in my “Top 5 Books of All Time”? Why did I absolutely devour A Thousand Splendid Suns and Kite Runner? What did Hosseini do that was so different than Steinbeck? Even though I don’t really identify with her characters, why do I read Jennifer Weiner’s books? How does she keep me coming back for more? What is it about Abby in You Suck that made me laugh out loud and smile every time she came into the picture? Why do I hate Shakespeare? What is it about early British lit that makes me come back for more?
I can come up with a myriad of reasons why. She had hope for a better life when her husband was making her chew on rocks. She could make herself feel empowered and important after her exboyfriend told the world about their lovelife (and her weight problems) in a newspaper column. A little boy was a vehicle for something bigger than himself and didn’t realize it… and when he didn’t agree with it, he decided to change it. He didn’t let it define him.
I can see myself in the lists of High Fidelity. I make them myself. I have three notebooks in three different areas of my 600 square foot apartment that have pages of lists. (I even wrote down everything I have to do tomorrow before I leave for my interview with Tarleton University.) I have playlists on my computer that remind me of people and places, times in my life that have passed years ago… people that are and are not in my life anymore for one reason or another. The love of my life did not die in my arms, like in Love is a Mixtape. I’m glad that I don’t have stacks of tapes as my one vehicle back to someone who changed my life forever. But, if I ever want to re-live my senior year of high school at Pinecrest driving around in my white 1990 Buick LeSabre Custom… I have just the playlist to do that.
Creating believable characters is incredibly difficult. It forces you to go inside of yourself and find things that you may not have wanted to find. It makes you bare the things about you that make you human and put them on display for everyone to read. The gift of that is… in the raw humanity of it all… pouring everything you have onto that paper makes some lonely 20-something in an apartment with no one around to talk to… feel a little more human too.