Saturday, November 29, 2008

Good writer

Is being a bookseller making me a bad writer?

I have begun to read How Fiction works by James Wood. And so far I must say that it makes me long to have had a better grounding in the great writers of our time. I have never read Flaubert. My Marquez is patchy and mostly recent, I have not done gatsby - yes I will do Gatsby, I promise. I did all of Orwell but not I only remember the novels. I have a vague memory of the two books by Camus. No Tolstoy, nothing, not even a glimmer of Tolstoy. I am a disgrace. I know I will love Tolstoy, and Gatsby and Flaubert, although I am probably leaving the magic realism of Marquez for my less cynacle years. I am certainly comfortable with Melancholy Whores and the old man lusting after the 14 year old virgin. But Grass, Gunter Grass, I never even finished Tin Drum, and there is that copy of Faulkner beside my bed that I was loving and got distracted, now why aren't I picking that up right now?

Because I am a bookseller, surrounded by new and shiny things that I must play with, which is why I am hefting around the new Joyce Carol Oates, which if fine, good, but it is not Faulkner. Faulkner will feed my book. Faulkner will give me a love of stories well told. So now I reach over and pick up faulkner, because Joyce C O is good but even JCO probably loves and would like to grow up to be faulkner one day.

No comments: