All this reading has got me to thinking: Where did these books come from?
Paul’s book (trust me, you too will feel comfortable enough to call him Paul once you have read his book…) is based on his life so it's a bit more obvious. Except that it isn’t. What makes his experience a good book? Or more to the point – would my life make a good book? And which bits? And how much detail?
There is an effortless, crazy, twirling, narcissistic hedonism that carrys Paul’s book. I loved every word of that book. Every. Word.
The magical realism of Morgenstern and Gaiman is more baffling to me. I really like magical realism (and its leather clad sister ‘urban fiction’.) The bringing together of the everyday with the whimsical is just so heart stoppingly delightful. Neil Gaiman, Suzanna Clarke and Lauren Beukes are just some of my favourites. I defy anyone to find a more artful love letter to Johannesburg than Beukes’ Zoo City.
When I read these books I feel like my brain is being slowly peeled open like an orange. I see the skill in the writing; I marvel at the extreme detail and am so excited by the otherness I want to suck the story right into my bones. I am left giddy and unsure of where my fantasies end and my mothering, working, school-lifting reality begins.
And, these books also leave me with a desire that scares the pants of me.
I want to write a book like that. I want to write something that makes a reader stop and say “Ha!” to no one in particular when the story takes an unexpected turn. I want my books to become a best friend and for a reader to feel slightly bereft when the final chapter is finished.
But do I have it in me? Am I brave enough to even try? What if its shit? What if the best I can produce is a piece of derivative crap?
I am certainly too frightened to begin that journey today.
For now I am going to go back to Googling Paul Carr, reading The Night Circus and waiting patiently for Lauren’s next book.
When Lauren? When?