A Year Without Books

It’s been months again, but it hardly seems any time has passed since I last posted. The last few months have been hellacious, physically and emotionally. Suffice it to say, writing has been far from my mind because of it. I was in a huge downward spiral of depression and angst with no sign of letting up.

Then my doctor put me on a thyroid medication and it was spook how, in less than 24 hours, I turned 180 degrees and started putting one foot in front of the other again. I’ve known for a long time that I had thyroid problems, but the doctors insisted because my blood tests were “normal,” I couldn’t possibly have a thyroid issue. But the results of taking this new medication prove them all wrong.

Now I’m slowly getting back into a writerly groove and I’m thankful. I’ve missed it.

But I’ve also spent FAR too much money on books this year. People may say that’s impossible, but when I’m feel down or blue or anxious, buying books is my sanity. Especially spending an hour or two browsing through a huge bookstore. Very little is more calming to me than that.

However, I know I’ve spent far and away what I should have, and I need to get it under control.

So, beginning October 1st, I will be giving up buying books for a whole year.

How is this possible? Won’t I run out of new books to read. *scoff* Hardly. I have a couple thousand books for my shelves and haven’t read at least 1/3 to 1/2 of them. Not to mention all the books on my Kindle. And this will get me at least a tiny bit caught up on my TBR list. Not all the way, but at least making some headway.

But I’d like to get your advice: are there any books you know of that are coming out soon, will be forthcoming in the next year, or any favorites you recommend that I just won’t be able to live without for a year? 🙂 I have a wide range of tastes in reading, so I’m fairly open.

Shoot ’em at me before I go cold turkey in a few weeks.

Happy writing and reading!

 

“Sometimes, looking at the many books I have at home, I feel I shall die before I come to the end of them, yet I cannot resist the temptation of buying new books. Whenever I walk into a bookstore and find a book on one of my hobbies — for example, Old English or Old Norse poetry — I say to myself, “What a pity I can’t buy that book, for I already have a copy at home.”
Jorge Luis Borges, This Craft of Verse

“How many cities have revealed themselves to me in the marches I undertook in the pursuit of books!”
Walter Benjamin, Illuminations: Essays and Reflections

“To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.”
Carlos María Domínguez, The House of Paper

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Frozen Writer

So many times I’ve heard people talk about how some of the best writers struggled with depression, angst, anxiety, and a variety of other psychological disorders, and that their difficulties fueled their writing. This past 12 months have been hellish for me with various health scares and concerns and I’ve been struggling through the pits of depression and anxiety.

Apparently, I am NOT in the hallowed group of depressed performers. When I’m going through a rough patch emotionally or psychologically, I do not perform well.

In fact, what comes out of me is either nothing–from being frozen by my issues–or the worst junk ever to hit paper/screen.

Does anybody else agree with me on this? I think I’ve read a couple books on writing that agree with me, but history often says otherwise.

Without a doubt, my best writing comes when I am happy, upbeat, rested, relaxed, etc. Even the dark scenes come best when I’m mentally in a good place.

What about you? When do you do your best writing? Does emotional state affect your writing ability, or put you solidly in a freeze?

Happy writing, or, perhaps, any writing? 🙂

 

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”
John Keats, Letters of John Keats

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain