It's been a while since I've gotten to reflect on the ins and outs of writerdom, mostly because I've been hanging on by the skin of my teeth in my MFA program. There are just not enough hours in the day.
A few emails ago, however, one of my advisors put me onto a short tome written by a fellow traveler in the writing lane, Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
I am a dedicated runner, which this advisor knows as we've crossed paths in the wee hours of the morn running during residencies. Although the reading tower is approaching critical heights in my office, I got the book (downloaded it to my Kindle, actually, thus not adding to the teetering tower).
Murakami hooked me right away with these words--"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."
In this life, if you live it even a little, pain is inevitable. Doesn't matter if you're running, swimming, have kids, are married, or, god forbid, decide to try art for a living. Pain is inevitable.
That's a liberating thought. I'm not alone. Everybody suffers! Don't get me wrong, I'm so not taking joy in somebody else's pain. Far from it. I'm just relieved that, well, the pain thing, it's...dare I say it, normal.
Yippee! I'm normal! (Have I been waiting an eternity to say that).
Well, I can either fall into it, or accept the pain and move through it.
Which gets back to the running thing. In running, at least, the longer I work through the pain, the greater the reward when I finish. All I need to do is juxtapose my running attitude to my writing. There will be pain. There is pain. What I do with it, that's the true test.
I review books that surprise me, jar me, make me think. They are books I've bought, borrowed from the library, or been given as a gift. I do accept ARCs, but will only review a book if it moves me. It's about the writing. If I'm moved, I pass it on in a review.