Ruined by writing

I’ve been slowly picking my way through The Brothers K by David James Duncan. My all-time favorite Westercrush Smoo recommended it to me ages ago, and I finally picked up as part of Reading Plan 2007 (whereby I am reading books that I own but haven’t read ever).

As I said the book is a little slow going. There’s a lot of talk about baseball, specifically pitching, that makes me want to snooze. But there are other parts that are so stunningly good and beautifully written that I find myself actually holding my breath with delight. For instance, I read a chapter today that explained two teenage brother’s reaction to some stunning news. Duncan wrote something like:
Irwin looked like he had just tasted a lemon. Peter looked like chocolate was melting in his mouth.

Wonderful isn’t it? Not only did he invoke the sense of taste at the very same time he told exactly what each boy was feeling. Fucking brilliant.

After I finish these kinds of parts I have to put the book down. I cannot bear to go on.

I wish I could say that I put the book down because I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the language, the depth of emotion, the what have you. But that would be a lie. I put the book down because in my head I want to analyze the craft. What it was about that writing that made me so excited.

Can I tell you that this kind of sucks? While it might prove good for my own writing, it has slowed down my reading enjoyment, and that’s no good. No good at all.

I remember sometime this summer telling Kelly about either The Accidental or The Thin Place. At one point I even used the phrase, “in terms of craft it is. . . ”
“Are you kidding me?” she asked.
“What?” I said.
“You just said ‘in terms of craft’ you’ve been infected by Rob and Dale.”

It was horrible. At that point I realized my life as just an average reader was over. Instead I would be one of those people who tries to deconstruct everything she reads to see what makes it tick.

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2 Comments

  1. UH 25.Feb.07 at 8:12 pm

    When I’m reading for fun, I’ve developed the ability to turn off the editor in my head and just read along. When I’m no longer able to suppress that, it’s the end of that book for me.

    Reply
  2. Jodi 25.Feb.07 at 8:19 pm

    It’s not even that I am editing, I am just trying to figure out what makes it so rad.

    Reply

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