The sky is overcast and thunderous, but the clouds are more likely to be full of ashes than rain. The setting sun is round and red through the intermittent gaps.

I’m enjoying the rare break in the oppressive sunshine, even if there’s still no break from the heat.

I recently discovered that the sunscreen I was using was only protecting me from UVB rays, which are the ones that turn your skin red, as compared to the UVA rays that make it age prematurely. I mean, some protection is better than no protection, but I still feel the urgent desire to undo!undo!undo! Several weeks of outdoor activity, and to start slathering myself in zinc oxide from head to toe.

The things I do to cope with sunshine…

At any rate, the gloom has got me feeling like hibernating inside with a good book. Which is convenient because the heat also has me feeling like hibernating in the air conditioning to stay cool. Counterintuitively, it is the book part of that fantasy that I’m finding problematic. Generally speaking, I love books and reading, but lately I’ve found myself struggling to enjoy it. I’ll start a book and then struggle to finish it, or struggle to get into the story, or struggle to connect to the characters, or struggle to accept the books argument. Right now I’m struggling to even make it through a children’s book called “The World of Poo” by Terry Pratchett. This is how far I’ve fallen.

I can only speculate that the parts of my brain usually reserved for the enjoyment of reading have been repurposed for writing instead- like a car factory being used to make tanks or like an old shoe factory being repurposed into hipster artist lofts. I want to believe that the reason that I’m having so much trouble just enjoying the act of reading is because I’m so focused on the underpinnings of the craft that I’m losing sight of the forest for the trees. I keep thinking about writerly voice and scene structure and use of language and pacing instead of just getting immersed in the story.

I can only hope that it is temporary.

My hope is that once this draft is complete I’ll be able to relax my grip on the language centers of my brain and can go back to recreational reading. Until then, though, I’m finding books to be a slog.

Maybe it’s time to try some audio books instead.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 9, 2018.

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