I know now why I don’t like to read for pleasure anymore. Or rather, why I can’t read for pleasure.
Everything I read feels like research.
“Is this any good? Should I use that treatment in my own writing? Ooh, that’s a cool word, must use it soon. Ugh, this is crap, strung out description, passive, inside out. Whoa, I’ve been reading for like a hundred words and almost forgot to analyze rather just enjoy it — let me go back and see why I didn’t get jimmied out of the vibe.”
Either I’m judging the writing for quality, or I’m mining it for tips and tricks, clues as to how it flows but my own writing feels like railroad ties on a bicycle.
C. Robert Cargill’s “We are where the nightmares go” nearly got me back in the groove. I skipped tracks, but I don’t think it was due to this author’s lack of skill. He’s clearly got some fine tuned aptitude. My lapses in immersion came from recognition, during the process, that: here’s some quality writing. His talent shows. And I noticed it showing, glowing. Yank!
Some days I wish I’d never started down this path. I’m nearly a fourth of the way through. I can’t go back to the beginning and the finish line stretches ever so far-off in the distance.
NOTE: There’s some fucking irreverent writing in that short story collection, whew! Loved it, you know, when I wasn’t getting jerked around by my own stupid editor’s brain. And, of course I didn’t buy it. Library rental. I only buy books from authors I personally know (relatively), these days.