Hubs is reading a book on creativity and the author suggests that when you are in a creative slump, you should go on a word fast. In theory, if you fill you mind (that needs a certain number of words a day to be stimulated) with the stimulation of other people's words, you won't feel the need to express your own. And though she started by suggesting giving up reading (I gathered novels), she also dissed on the newspaper, TV, and talking on the phone.
And what's worse, I think she's right. When I have something I want to write, an outside deadline or my own, I don't let myself start reading anything I "want" to read. Which means I spend my time in front of the TV. Because that is oh, so much better for my mind.
I know myself. I can turn off the TV. Can't put down a book. Certainly not to write. All I can think about is what I'm reading and how anything I write would in no way be remotely as good as what I'm reading (most of the time, that is).
So, that said, last weekend, when I had just over a week to get some stories in by deadline, I devoured a couple books that you should know about. Just before my word fast. That produce four stories.
I think there is something to it.
Daisy Chain by Mary E. DeMuth
Oh, mercy, she can write wounded people better than anyone I know. I know people who read Mary's first book and will never, (I repeat never) read her again. "Too tragic." I always want to ask them, "Did you finish it?" Tragedy happens in life, people. It's what you do with it that makes you into who you are. And Mary makes her people deal with their tragedy. Sure, you go through it with them, but dang.
Oh, and I loved this: "'...our life is like a winding path with a deep ditch on either side...one ditch is our full fisted rebellion. The other, she said, is our response to someone else's rebellion. She told me, 'The Devil couldn't care less which ditch we fall into, he just wants up off the road.''"
Back cover: A picture-perfect small town hides more secrets than the curved petals of a blood red rose. In the simmer of 1977, innocent young Daisy Chance goes missing. Fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He's convinced it's his fault.
As Jed follows the trail of clues Daisy left behind, he traces the path of pain hidden in his own family as well. When Jed's carefully constructed world comes crashing down, will he dare to find hope? Or will his guilt crush him forever? haunted by Daisy's memory and pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis, this achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story brings to life God's sometimes confusing but always present redemption.
And in a completely different genre:
Miss Match by Sara Mills
Funny thing. I didn't used to think I liked mystery/noir/whatever (which is why I can't quite classify it). Turns out, I wasn't reading the right author. Or maybe series? I love the Allie Fortune Mysteries.
Set in post WWII NYC (and then Europe), it's got all my favorite things. (Why DO I have a hangup about the 40s? Michael Crichton's NEXT would call it the Neanderthal Gene--but that's another day.) Intrigue, romance (but not too much), history, story. Good stuff. So if you're into that kind of thing...
Back cover: Jack...I'm in trouble, big trouble. Once, many years ago, we trusted each other completely. I'm asking you to trust me like that again. I need you . If you can, come to Berlin. I'll find you.
FBI agent Jack O'Conner receives this cryptic letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks another woman to help him investicgate. Wasting no time, Allie Fortune, the best private eye in New York City, comes up with a plan to get them both into Germany.
Maggie was a Red Cross nurse in the war, and she has stayed in the divided city of Berlin to look after an orphaned child. Trapped and in hiding, she has nowhere to turn...except Jack.
And little does Allie Fortune know that this case might just lead right to her own mysterious past...