I didn’t plan on being absent around here most of last week, but having taken a break (even/especially an unplanned one) I can say it was much needed and appreciated. I got to disconnect and spend time with family and loved ones and in sweatpants and with cup after cup of tea, and my nose buried in a book. Tis the season! I’m in the middle of two books Jamal bought me for Christmas, “The Paris Architect” by Charles Belfoure, and Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” and recommend both highly. Am I weird for reading multiple books at once? My short attention span coupled with a voracity for the written word means I’ve always juggled at least two books at a time (and sometimes as many as four), craving variety in narratives. I vacillate depending on what I’m in the mood for: Nazi occupation of Paris one day, a young man and his stolen painting the next.

It was the New York Times Book Review for the latter from which this quote comes:

To write a novel [so] large and dense is equivalent to sailing from America to Ireland in a rowboat, a job both lonely and exhausting. Especially when there are storms. Suppose, the writer thinks (must think), this is all for nothing? What if I’m failing and don’t know it? What if I make the crossing and am greeted not with cheers but with indifference or even contempt?

Stephen King

Tartt spent about 10 years working on “The Goldfinch,” her third novel. Ten! I remember thinking when I first started this undertaking that I would finish writing my book in six months to a year. So precious! So naive! So wrong! Sure, the writing is coming along and I’m grateful for it even if the pace sometimes feels like my 88-year-old mommom could outrun my progress, but King’s quote is so accurate it’s scary. What if I’m actually wasting my time? I have to think that even if it takes me 10 years (PLEASE DON’T LET IT TAKE 10 YEARS) I will have something to show for it, regardless of what happens at the end of that time. It’s the journey, not the destination, etc etc, I know. I know. Right?

12 thoughts on “Quotable

  1. Hi Erin, The topic of writing a book is currently very close to my heart. My partner, David, has just managed to get his first publishing deal. This is not the first book he has written and submitted to agents and publishers and he is on a very low rung of a very tall ladder. My point is that you really shouldn’t fear that the time you devote to writing your book will be wasted. The outcome you seek may not be what you achieve but the only way to really learn to write a novel is to write one. You can’t pay for that kind of education you just have to do it. Whatever happens you will learn an enormous amount from writing your book and even if it doesn’t get published in the form you envisage it will be full of material you can adapt and use. Very best of luck with it. Hope you at least finish your first draft in 2014. Triciax

    1. Hi Tricia! Congratulations to your partner, that is such an amazing accomplishment. He must be so proud! You too. All of his hard work paid off, doubly so: not only did he finish a book but he managed to secure a publishing deal. BOTH are incredible achievements! “The only way to really learn to write a novel is to write one.” You should put that on a poster and sell it, that’s such good advice. Thank you so much for the encouragement, I’m hoping 2014 is the year I finish the first draft, too. xoxo

  2. i got the goldfinch for christmas too! and when i heard that tidbit of info on the ten years she spent writing it i meant to tell you. that is one big book though, i can hardly hold it to attempt at reading it. but i really can’t wait to dive in – i did read the first few pages on christmas (where it was christmas in the book too!) but since i have been “trying” to clean and playing with lots of toys. my energy level is at an all time low, but i am okay with that because i really want to rest up so i can start the new year with some real energy. xoxo

    1. It’s a behemoth of a book, and the font is so tiny. I’m a little over 100 pages in now, and I’d liken it to a cartoon character being yanked off-stage by a cane: only one part of him is pulled but his whole body yanks after him in a blur. That’s what happened to me when I started reading. All of a sudden, ZOOM! I was hooked. You’ll get pulled along with it, too. I’m with you though, I lay down next to it when I read because I can’t hold it up, haha.

      Take it easy the next few days, you earned it ;) xo

  3. Hi – FYI. You’ve inspired me. I signed up for a wordpress blog today, and I’m going to begin a challenge – to blog every day of 2014.

    A long time ago you gave me some advice about getting rid of the bad to make room for the good (I’m paraphrasing!) so that’s what I’m going to attempt to blog about.

    It might just end up being about my cat. We’ll see :)

    Thanks for being a near-daily bright spot for me :)


    1. Hey girl!! I’m so happy you’re starting a blog, that’s a good New Years resolution! And I gave you that advice? I must have been so wise back then ;) But I definitely stand by it still, and I’m so excited to see where this year takes you with all this new perspective. Of course, if you blog about Neo, that would be okay too :) I miss you! xoxo

  4. Yes, it’s the journey! Or so that’s what I try to convince myself as well, with writing in general. Leave it to Stephen King and his veritable tomes to accurately portray the writing process. I hope you’re enjoying your time off

    1. It’s applicable advice to writing and life in general, honestly. Would you believe me if I said I’d never read any of Stephen King’s fiction? Gah. Hope you’re avoiding getting sick! xo

      1. You should try it sometime! Maybe it’s because so many of his stories have been turned into movies but the man’s writing makes it so easy. The Shining is a classic and a good one to start with!

        1. Did you ever see the episode of Friends where Joey and Rachel start their own book club and Joey has to put books in the freezer because they scare him? That’s what would happen to me. I saw “It” at a sleepover in like, 7th grade (normally I’d never watch something that scary but I couldn’t very well chicken out) and it HORRIFIED ME and to this day I still get freaked out over drains. Oy. So maybe it’s best I stay away? haha xo

  5. you too!!?? I heard so many people talking about the goldfinch, I guess it’s time to get it.

    and no, it’s not weird to read multiple books at the same time. I’m reading city of bones at the moment, a young adult fantasy novel, american gods by Neil Gaiman, mind-blowingly weird and fantastically written, and the belly of paris for a bit of old world charm.

    Stephen King is fantastic when it comes to writing about writing. have you read his on writing? I’m sure you have. stupid question :)


    1. My brother raved about it a few days before Christmas and I was happy to get my hands on it. I’d spotted it in the bookstore every time I’d gone (the cover is pretty striking) and am happy to report it’s lived up to the hype thus far! You know, in case you have room in your roster of current reads :) (glad I’m not alone there!)

      I have read “On Writing”! It was helpful and wise and wonderfully written. It’s the only book of his I’ve read, believe it or not! xo

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