Back in 2012 I sat down with someone I admire; someone whose thoughts matter to me. I admit being flustered and ill-prepared.
I was asked, “What authors in your genre have you read?” I spluttered off several names.
When he said, “Your writing reminds me of — ,”
I began to squirm.
“You’ve never read, — ?” He asked. An incredulous look upon his face.
I’ve never forgotten that encounter. I doubt I ever will.
It’s not that I hadn’t read some of the authors he mentioned, I have a terrible memory for names and titles. How’s that for a writer? Sucks, huh?
Here’s how it works:
You: “Have you read Blah Blah, by Blah Blah? The one on the best seller lists.”
Me: Blank look.
You: “You know! The book where so-and-so goes and meets so-and-so. They travel through a worm-hole and end up on an inhospitable planet! They’re in a terrible battle using a combination of archaic and modern technologies. They ride beasts that resemble crosses between alligators and chimpanzees. The universe almost collapses!”
Me, after several moments of running through a mental rolodex: “Yes! Now, I remember!”
At the best of times, with prompting, I remember. When I’m under pressure though, I lose all facility to locate my mental rolodex. Without context of who, what, where, and when, I’m unlikely to respond with: “Sure, of course I’ve read Blah Blah by Blah-Blah.”
I figure when I’m next in a situation like the one I mentioned, rather than splutter incoherently, I’ll fess up. “To be honest, I have a terrible memory. Once I have context of the story, it’s likely I’ll remember.”
How’s your memory for titles and authors? Can you rattle off every book you’ve ever read, or do you struggle and need prompts? What would you do in a similar situation? How would you respond?
Procrastination. I admit I’m procrastinating. Rather than dive into the emotional quagmire and messiness of this draft, I’m opting out with excuses like, “I have a client in two hours. I can’t go with puffy, blood-shot eyes!” Rubbish. Of course I can. Hm. Well, maybe not today.
How do you disengage from your writing and work?
I know what I need to do, and what I want to do. The longer I put it off,
the more agonizing it becomes. Like I’m at the top of a luge run, the icy track before me. Get on the sled, woman! Timer’s running.
How’s your writing going?