Sometimes I miss the days when my New Year’s resolution was just to lose weight like everyone else. I’m still secretly hoping I’ll hit the gym three times a week in 2008, but for some reason I resolved, this year, to Renew My Faith In Art. Abstract much, Cheryl?
For maybe a year or two, I’ve been struggling with the idea that, as much as books/movies/music are important to me, they don’t really Save The World. And aren’t we all in the world to save it?
No, we’re not, AK said when I told her my resolution. As a relaxed second child, she’s not the victim of a ridiculous self-imposed imperative to take care of everything and everyone. Just do what you’re good at and what makes you happy, she advised, and the rest will follow.
So although I could have looked at my crisis of faith as a sign that maybe I should give up this art thing and become a social worker (this random, mostly fake back-up plan that pops up every once in a while), I decided to just put a little more energy into what makes me happy, i.e. reading and writing.
I finally crawled to the finish line of White Noise, the most depressing and painful really good book I’ve read in a long time. It’s all tightly written, semi-absurdist prose about middle class fear of death and how technology interacts with that fear. So timely I wanted to strangle myself with an Ethe
Plus there was that whole moving thing, that whole Pit Of Despair thing. I haven’t been a happy girl.
2. saint nick
But then—speaking of strangling oneself—I picked up Nick Ho
Objectively, A Long Way Down is not the literary masterpiece that White Noise is, but subjectively, I had the palpable and only slightly melodramatic thought that This book is saving my life. I hadn’t felt that way about a book in a while, but when it hit, it was a familiar feeling. I had been saved before, and when it was time to be saved again, books were there.
The dialogue was funny, the characters were flawed and loveable and suitably depressed, and despite the subject matter, the book was hugely life-affirming, but not in an annoying or unea
So I read A Long Way Down and felt renewed and understood and ready to go out into the world again (well, mostly). And you can’t Save The World without being engaged in it, so in that way books are very, very important. And when I engaged, I wrote—part two of the equation.
I would like to say that the thing I’ve been working on (draft three of the not-so-new novel) will find its way into the world someday and make someone feel a little more engaged with said world. But I may not have any more success as a writer than JJ does as a musician. All I can say is that being in another world for approximately four hours a week makes me like this one a little more.