Friday, May 06, 2011


I have a huge stack of books beside my bed. Massive. Probably twenty or so in heavy rotation and another stack that are waiting for a bit of attention. I keep them there not so much for reading, as I used to when I was younger, but for motivation.   

 When I'm working on my novel, and I need to see some great dialogue, or a chapter intro that really works, that uses minimal words to paint a scene, or some heart-thumping action, I have books for that. I read them and find the original reason I loved it when I first read it. These are my stacks of favorites, and they're familiar, and I usually know which section I need before I crack it open. Hawaii. Underworld. The Sportswriter. Handmaid's Tale. Lord of the Rings. The Sun also Rises. Aristophanes. Short stories of F.Scott Fitzgerald. Franny and Zooey. Even Mason & Dixon, which I loved up to the point of the bizarre talking dog, even that for its quirky use of language and oblique character treatment, has its place.  

It is important, I think, not to get down when it doesn't flow out of the pen exactly perfect, to remind me that there are a hundred steps between what first comes out, and what is printed on the page. I need to see how things work when they work well.     So what do you use? Where do you find motivation? Is it an author, or many authors, or perhaps non-fiction, or textbooks? What inspires you?

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