As hard as people say writing after finishing an MFA is, I find writing again after finishing a novel to be infinitely more difficult. It's not just that I can't seem to find the right material for a second book-length project. I'm finding it hard even to muster up words for a poem.
To make up for this, I've been reading a lot, several books at once at times, in the hope that something will spark my next writing endeavor, though this is starting to abate a bit. I hope that means I'm about to find words again. As of two days ago, I finally settled on a possible book idea. The two previous ideas I had, one a young-reader friendly ghost story and the other a more adult-themed book, both dimmed in the time since dreaming them up and finishing the previous novel. I'm hoping this new idea sticks around long enough for me to find the words to write it down.
Currently, I'm reading the new Jhumpa Lahiri, entitled The Lowland. Unlike most of what I've been reading lately, it has retained a "currently reading" status on my Goodreads account longer than a few days, a sign that the reading frenzy is starting to let up. If you haven't read it, I recommend you do. It's beautifully written, real, and heartbreaking and combines political unrest and private family life in a way that only Lahiri can. Her characters are always complex and even the worst of them have plights with which I can't help but empathize.
This oddly connects to something I found out this week. Apparently, the more you read, the more empathy you have for other people. This makes a lot of sense to me, considering how much I read and how much my brother doesn't read and the differing amounts of empathy we seem to exhibit.
So if I'm not yet writing the great American novel, at least I'm gaining a better ability to understand people.
Happy Halloween 2013. I'm currently dressed as Moaning Myrtle. In fact, I won the costume contest at work today, thanks in part to my knit-on-the-bias Ravenclaw hip scarf, which I used as the required uniform tie.
And yes, that's the face I have when I think about the fact that I will have to take my son out trick or treating in the rain. Tally ho.