I used to read all the time. Seriously. I read so much, I gave myself headaches. I'd even read the back of cereal boxes when I was having breakfast. I wrote alot, too, and would write and illustrate comic books when other kids were doing normal things like climbing trees (I didn't quite have the co-ordination for tree climbing... I fell over ALOT).
However, studying English scunnered me of the habit for quite a while... I hated having to dissect EVERYTHING I liked, and even more I hated doing a full term about Shakespeare. And not even the plays I'd heard of. I just found it really dry and tedious, the language really hard to decipher, and the hardcore literary geeks in my class didn't appreciate me giggling like a schoolboy at 'Coriolanus'. (Heeheehee! Anus! Toilet humour high five anyone?)
ANYWAY. Aside from rock star biographies, I've not really read much of note in the last few years. (Example- the last few books I've read all the way through have been The Dirt- The Story of Motley Crue, Never Enough: The Story of The Cure, The Heroin Diaries, and Heavier Than Heaven- The Biography of Kurt Cobain). Studying art didn't really encourage me either... aside from pretty picture books about Tracey Emin's manky bed, or Dali's fabulous moustache or, at a push, Peter Biskind's modern film histories like Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.
Recently though, I've started to get back into reading- particularly encouraged by our screenwriting classes and content origination. We're pretty much told that we can't expect inspiration to come to us- we have to look to other sources beyond what is immediately around us. Plus, I'd found that when I was writing my own stuff it was all kind of journalistic and dull- not terribly exciting, and not terribly progressive either.
SO. I decided I'd take advantage of Borders' closing down sale (sniff!) and, inspired by our Heavy Emotional Cathartic Post Secret class, bought what I thought would be an interesting foray into the life of a screenwriter...
In fact, James Brown's (no, not that one) L.A. Diaries is in fact the true story of a writer struggling to get his big break in Hollywood- all the while crippled by his addictions with drink and drugs, and barely managing to be a father to his children. The book flicks back and forth between his life, although not chronologically, through his disturbed childhood, his days as a promising young university student, his week-long motel bound drug binges and the premature deaths of his sister and brother through cocaine and alcohol. Hardly the kind of inspiration I was looking for, really. Still, I managed to read it in abour 2 days- a rare feat nowadays.
Starkly written, and unflinchingly honest, it's quite difficult to read at some points- but it struck a chord with me, weirdly, because of the class we'd had that day.
The way Brown wrote about his experiences with such clarity, exposing his most vulnerable moments and deepest depressions for all to read, really hammered home how much of themselves writers have to bring to the table. There's no point writing about what you don't know, or don't believe in, because then it's false- and no one else will believe it either. It's something that makes me a bit uneasy- I'm not one for 'opening up', really, and if I do it's in a journal bound by lock and key... Alot of it probably had to do with being out of practise- aside from boring mandatory essays I hadn't done any writing in years. It's something I'm developing as our course progresses though. I've found that if I force myself to sit and write, when I have free time, it becomes more of a habit and I find myself actually making time to do it, rather than finding time... weird huh?
On a lighter note, I recently caved in and bought the first Twilight book. I'd tried watching the film, but it was soooo depressing. The female lead, Bella, spent the entire duration with her face tripping her and I couldn't warm to her at all- she just came across like a spoiled, moody teenager. And you could read Robert Pattison's cue cards all over his face. BAD. However, pretty much everyone who'd seen the film told me to read the book first because 'you fall in love with the character'. So, I've decided to give it a bash- I'm only 100 pages or so into it so far, but already I'm enjoying it better than the film... although admittedly I'm finding it quite hard getting past all the adjectives. It's veeerrrry flowery... really, how hard is it to just say "he said", rather than "it was like a line delivered by a skilled actor"?
Like the Harry Potter series before it, I get the impression the author has a big imagination but not quite the talent to express it... still, what do I know... I've never written a novel, never mind had anything published. Still, it's yet to get into the real juicy stuff, so I'll plough on with it. I'm actually secretly enjoying alot more than I'd admit... if I was 16 I'd totally love it, and be looking for an Edward Cullen of my very own... In saying that, R-Patz is the same age as me!
Well, that's about all from me for now... my eyes are going blurry from staring at my laptop screen for too long, and blogging all day has used up so much of my concentration, that the only thing I can be bothered to read right now is The Book of Bunny Suicides... Which, to be fair, is a classic in itself!