I had a weird, wonderful confluence between writing & reading, a strange happenstance of disparate books coming together, that broke through a sort of block I’d been having in my fiction writing. Hard to explain, but I’ll try:
Three of my current and completely random reads underwent this synergistic explosion in my brain: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood (which I just finished), Trilby by George du Maurier (found on a dollar cart last week) and Hester by Margaret Oliphant (found in search for Victorian novels).
Cat’s Eye and Trilby both have sight and vision as a major motif. Du Maurier, as it happens, lost vision in one eye, which terrified him, and led him to address vision in his novel.
Cat’s Eye and Hester are both “realism novels,” meaning the stories may not “go anywhere,” and that is part of their structure. This gave me a “duh” moment (the pessimist’s equivalent of Oprah’s “ah-ha” moment), when I “got” what Atwood was going after with Cat’s Eye: the messiness, false starts, unraveling endings and dead-ends of real life versus the tight plot and progressive narrative of a traditional novel. (Can’t wait to read Hester and see how it compares to Cat’s Eye…)
The Atwood insight in turn gave surge to a virtual wave of ideas, motifs, symbols etc. that I envisioned for my own fiction. As a bonus, a particular “voice” I want to achieve popped into my head….a moment of clarity.
A good feeling to see how all of my reading is “paying off,” in terms of how it is acting in my subconscious. (Geez, if only I could & would actually write.)
Oh, I don’t feel I have come anywhere close to explaining the complete surprise of the book-to-book dynamics and how amazingly satisfying the feeling when all the divergent streams brooked together.
But, somehow, I have a feeling many of you writers & readers out there know exactly what I’m talking about.