I'm actually feeling a little afraid of writing.
My writer's meeting is scheduled for Saturday, after being rescheduled because a couple of people couldn't make it. I haven't been to a meeting since... March? February? although I saw some of them at the Con in May. I haven't written anything since February, either, although I've done some light editing, a little brainstorming, and been reading a good bit.
Today I have some downtime. Now would be the ideal time to open up a Trace file, or a blank document, and go to town. But the whole thing sounds draining, dangerous. As if it will get hold of me and drag me down, and I don't have time for that right now.
I've had this feeling before. Rather frequently, the last couple years. Probably means I've got too much on my plate. Looking forward to seeing the group tomorrow, though. Be nice to see some different faces, think about something other than tai chi for a bit. (My tai chi is somewhat less sucky today, but we'll talk about that later.)
I finished the Oates book yesterday. Pretty much skimmed the last third of it. My question is, if this is autobiographical, as she admits, why on earth would she want to portray herself in such a negative light? It's a vaguely picaresque structure, as nothing really adds up and there is no plot arc, only a series of incidents that I suppose are meant to shape the heroine's life, but I can't see any cause-and-effect, particularly because she tends to end chapters with shocking scenes, and then pick up in the next chapter, several months or years later, with no follow-up. Her very failure to reexamine or impose meaning upon these incidents nullifies any point or value they might have otherwise implied. The only thing I took away from this book was the heroine's apparent sense of worthlessness, from being abandoned as a child, contributing directly to her spitefulness, coldness, and willingness to prostitute herself in the name of literary advancement as an adult.
What made it particularly horrifying to me was, I could identify with a lot of it. Not the abandonment parts, but the literary bent of mind, the schizoid simultaneous superiority/inferiority complexes (I think all artists suffer from that), the detachment from peers who aren't really. So it made it all the more repugnant when I was reading along, nodding in empathy, and suddenly the woman leaps into an affair with her graduate professor. I mean, ew. And on top of that, Oates has a strong, distinctive style, which has left an aftertaste on my brain and might be useful if I were working on something contemporary and nihilistic (maybe I should dig out "Skinpatch" again?) but would be highly detrimental to my mellerdramatic (and defiantly optimistic) everyday escapist fare.
I think I'll go find a nice Dean Koontz novel to wash my brain out.