Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Literary Mind Cleanse

I own more books than I have actually counted. The last time I attempted a number, I stopped after reaching 400. Some books are shelved in double rows--one row of books behind the other--and I still wander from bookshelf to bookshelf, muttering, "There's nothing to read."

The same goes for the movies I own; I suffer from an overabundance of entertainment choices.

The literary side recently received an infusion: Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead, and The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez. Both books have been languishing on the dining room table (which serves more as a book and manuscript repository than an actual dining location) for a while, though The Automatic Detective has been sampled on several occasions, usually days apart, until Friday night, when I consumed its remains in one long feast.

Nope, this isn't a book review (though Martinez does serve up one tasty treat in the detecting adventures of Mack Megaton). It is, however, a reminder of how cleansing a book can be when one's mental house needs swept for cobwebs and dust bunnies.

Yeah, I'm mixing metaphors--food and housekeeping--but both are good descriptors for the experience of reading a good book. Another excellent descriptor: a drink of cold, clean water. Or this one: a long, true rest after a hard day's work. I actually feel energized. Crazy, huh?

A desirable reading side-effect for writers is renewed creativity, a juicing of the battery cells, and that's precisely what's keeping me up at 2:00 a.m. on a Saturday after a tiring Friday. Some nagging problems with a for-publication piece of writing are starting to work themselves out, and I'm actually getting excited about a story that has been more difficult than it should be.

Just needed a little literary mind cleanse.

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For the science fiction junkies, here are a couple quotes from different Farscape episodes:

"No, Pilot, I'm here to tell you that the Nebari are a bunch of geeks!And that the damn mind-cleansing doesn't work on Mama Crichton's baby boy."

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nebari mental cleansing doesn't get the tough stains out.”

3 comments:

Eaglewing said...

I think a literary mind cleanse sounds good. I should try that. I agree too that the more I read or movies I watch, the more ideas I want to write.

Jadesmith said...

The trouble with me as a reader, I find myself wanting to imitate the plot of recent novels I've read in my own writing. This is unconscious. So when I'm writing the suspense stuff, for example, I'll watch moody, atmospheric movies, and stay away from the books.
However--a good detective novel is a great mind refresher!

Lavinia said...

Your blog is becoming a real literary treasurehouse these days...