Wednesday, June 18, 2003

My goal today was to write about Thomas Berger's new novel Best Friends, which I find most impressive and which is his best in years. But I continually find myself in a bit of a fog when I sit down to write a review unless I've read the book twice; I don't really feel like I've mastered the book until I've given it extra-special attention, taken notes, thought hard. This is why so many of the little opinions I drop off here aren't pleasing to read; they're wispy, insubstantial, lacking in thought. I'm no good at blogging, I've decided; well, not so much "I've decided" as "I've always known, but pretended otherwise." I don't think quickly enough, I don't form opinions with timely exactitude, and much as I may wish it to be otherwise I innately reject the whole idea of "first-draft" thinking. That's for people who are more tuned in, more plugged in, more aware, more in touch, you might say -- I'm none of those things, and when you try to be it makes you a little absurd in reflection.

Writing takes forever and you have to believe in it apart from whether it ever gets read or not -- which, I know, may sound silly, but I think that's what it comes down to. When I say this, I feel a little like the wife in a free-love relationship, who keeps telling herself she needs to "get over" her jealousy when her man strays; triumph over the natural instinct, and you'll be free, supposedly. Never works, but we plug on, boats against the current.

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