Enter at your own risk

As much as I love writing, sometimes I hate it.

Enter at your own risk
Enter at your own risk

After bellyaching for a while about how I don’t know what to do with the feedback from my beta readers, I decided to take the cure. Once again, my weekday calendar contains a slot for writing from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. (it’s my ROW80 commitment for the next few months). I might use the hour for editing, creating new scenes, working on short fiction, writing blog posts, researching clubs in San Francisco (for the novel!), watching fun cat videos


Last week I wrote for three of the five weekdays and over the weekend. Nike admonishes us to “just do it”—effective, perhaps, but not always pleasurable. Like any challenging endeavor, it requires a tush-in-the-chair, hands-on-the-keyboard, toss-the-cat-off-your-lap dedication that can be downright squirm-inducing.

What your bookshelf says about you

On to something more lighthearted. I stole a whimsical idea from Kourtney Heintz (who in turn was inspired by Jenna Bennett). The exercise is to describe your life using only the titles of books you’ve read in the last year.

Before the advent of Goodreads I would have had trouble doing this, since I usually can’t remember the name of a book even while I’m reading it. Here’s my list, gleaned from Goodreads. (I cheated a tiny bit and included two books I started in 2012 and finished in 2013.)

Describe yourself: Girl, Interrupted (Susanna  Kaysen)
How do you feel: Homesick (Eshkol Nevo)
Describe where you currently live: Lunch Bucket Paradise (Fred Setterberg)
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Middlesex (Jeffrey Eugenides)
Your favorite form of transportation:  The Water’s Lovely (Ruth Rendell)
Your best friend is: Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout)
You and your friends are: Cleaning Nabokov’s House (Leslie Daniels)
What’s the weather like: ’Tis (Frank McCourt)
You fear: A Visit From the Goon Squad (Jennifer Egan)
What is the best advice you have to give: Talk Talk (T.C. Boyle)
Thought for the day:
How to Buy a Love of Reading (Tanya Egan Gibson)
How I would like to die: [Via] Things That Fall from the Sky (Kevin Brockmeier)
My soul’s present condition: The Double Bind (Chris Bohjalian)

This is a fun reminder that, in a very real sense, we are what we read.

What does your reading list say about you? I’d love to see what was on your bookshelf in 2012 or hear about what you plan to put there in 2013.

11 thoughts on “Enter at your own risk

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    1. So true. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the genuine voice of the story after you’ve heard what doesn’t work for all the readers! On the other hand, I sometimes get so attached to a character or a scene or a way of telling the story that I can’t see when it’s not working. I’m hoping to get more comments from some other readers soon.


    1. Perhaps I chose my words unwisely. It’s more of, say, an encouragement to try sitting somewhere else for a while. In any event, the cats keep returning to the lap so I don’t think they feel mistreated in any way, and no animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post! 🙂


  1. I love your calendar commitment. 🙂
    Wow, those all sound like great books, I haven’t read any of these but I’d love to. More poor to-read bookcases overfloweth. I wish I could take a month off and just read. 😉


      1. Seriously that would be awesome. I have one weakness. Books. Not shoes. Not purses. But finding the time to read them all is a constant struggle. Though with chocolate beside me, I bet I could get more done. 🙂


        1. I knew there was a reason I felt so drawn to you! Fashion, bling, style… I don’t give a darn (sorry for disrupting the economy). Books and chocolate. Where do I sign up?


  2. I may have to try that exercise. It looks like fun. I loved your answer “What’s the weather like: ’Tis” That about sums it up. 🙂

    I was going to ask what you thought of “Double Bind,” but then I clicked on the Goodreads link you provided and saw your review. I must say I agree, though I saw the twist coming early in the book. Definitely not my favorite of his, but I do love his other books. The most recent one I read was “The Night Strangers.” I liked it, but so far, none have compared to “Midwives.” That is one of my all-time favorite books, his or otherwise.


    1. It was a fun exercise! I was sad to have to use the title “Double Bind” to describe the state of my soul, since I didn’t much like the book. But then, I’ll bet the author wouldn’t be too enamored of my soul, either. It’s good to know that his other books are closer to “Midwives.” I guess I’ll give them a chance.


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