...Writing Something That Matters
After reading A Cosmology of Monsters, Neuromancer, and 1Q84, I realized that not only do I want to read things that matter, but I also want to write something that matters.
I very desperately need to lower the amount of time I spend on screens. (He says, writing a newsletter article on his laptop.) That’s why a couple of weeks ago, I picked up the hardcover of the truly fantastic A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill.
My wife met Shaun at a library event she ran in our hometown a few years ago, and I have had the signed/inscribed copy sitting out since then, just waiting on me to give in and read a physical book.
I haven’t read a “book” book in years. In fact, I haven’t read too many physical books since I got my first Kindle device in 2009.
That’s partly because of space and storage issues, partly because of the convenience of immediately buying a book I decide to read, and partly because the dedicated Kindle devices have been so daggome nice.
Most recently, I just use the Kindle app on my phone So I can read in the dark, in bed, while my wife is asleep. I keep the brightness all the way down, the Night Shift on, and the dark mode on so it’s the least straining to my eyes.
For the most part, it’s been just fine. But the other day…I got the hankering to read a paper book. So I grabbed A Cosmology of Monsters, and it might just be the best book I’ve read in years. In fact, it is the best book I’ve read in years.
It’s literary horror. And it made me think.
More so even than the physical book, it has been years since I read anything that could be even remotely called “literary.” I usually read fluff. Good fluff. But fluff.
As I moved into the fifth Wheel of Time book, I realized that nothing I’ve read lately has challenged me. Well, except for Dune. It is incredibly literary, full of nuance, and not fluff at all.
And neither is A Cosmology of Monsters. It deals with some stuff. It’s literary horror by way of Lovecraft. After I finished it, I felt the pull to continue reading that sort of book. So I moved on to the paperback of Neuromancer.
And right now, the physical copy of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami should come in today. It’s a huge book that is well over 1,000 pages, so I ordered a really pretty set that splits it into 3 volumes. It’ll be a lot more comfortable to read that way. Plus, did I mention it’s pretty?
Know what else I learned?
it’s pronounced Q-Teen Eighty-Four because kyu means “nine” in Japanese. It’s a pun. The best kind of pun.
After being entirely engrossed with the Kindle sample, I needed a hard copy. Even in these first few chapters (8, I think, are in the sample), the book has brought up a number of things I’ve thought about long after I stopped reading.
I cannot wait to get even deeper into it.
Side note: Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is one of my favorite books, definitely Top 5. So if you haven’t read it and you even remotely care about running, writing, and/or their intersection, pick it up. It’s amazing.
All of this has made me want to write something that matters.
I know a lot of you have been here since the beginning. Since I wrote Birthright and ran the Kickstarter — all the way back in 2012. And have stayed with me through the writing of the whole trilogy.
But I can’t say those books matter. I mean, they matter a lot on a personal level, and I think they’re still pretty decent reads. But they’re not literary.
And that’s okay. They were never meant to be.
But right now, I really want to write something that matters. Something meaningful. Something that says…well…something.
I don’t know what that means, either. I haven’t ever had something I wanted to say. But I think I do now. I’ve struggled with grief and mental health so much in the past decade that I feel like…I dunno.
That there’s enough to be explored, maybe. And that maybe something I write will matter to someone, will say something someone needs to hear (even if it’s me), and give just a little brightness to a world that’s desperately needing some right now.
Anyway, I’ll let you know what comes of it as I start really working through this.
In the meantime, check out those books above. They’re superb.