I should never tell you what I'm going to read next, because invariably I pick up a different book. I found a blog ages ago (or maybe it was a section of an online journal) about forgotten books that readers and other writers recommended. I sourced a signed first edition of Failing Paris by Samantha Dunn based on one of those recommendations and am finishing it today.
Ironically, I've forgotten what the site was. Oh dear. It's a shame because I remember making a small resolution to read my way through their lists. Donal Ryan's book (which I bought a signed first edition of before it became really famous) is proof that it can go the other way too -- and after being forgotten and forgotten and forgotten, a book can suddenly jump the fence.
When I was little, I believed that hard work paid off, that talent got its due. It's been one of the hardest lessons of adulthood, that it's much more of a flimsy concoction than that. Stars must align, public consciousness must be in some ineffable state of readiness, promotion must hit the right note. Hard work alone can't construct all of that. Good or bad, all artists and creators and entrepreneurs quickly feel that fact. And sometimes, it's an indignant realization and other times a celebratory one. For most, it's a lesson in quiet persistence and looking inwards rather than outwards for a sense of something akin to fulfillment.
Of course, for many, the idea of jumping the fence is also a scary proposition. I don't rate myself as much of a writer, but I have a little fantasy about being a forgotten one; one who is praised quietly in certain small circles, who appears on lists like the ones I found. It's an out from all the other stuff that fills me with pure dread. I suppose none of this will ever apply to me anyway, but I do think about it - probably because I play in these online environments that promote celebrification while mostly despising it.
This week, I also loved this - another writer to explore:
"...all that matters is that they were there, and that freight trains broke their fucking heart, and that someone wanted them to stay but they didn't."
And I reread this over on Aeon. These days, I don't feel as much loneliness as I've sometimes blogged. But I think there'll always be a bit, a small of sense of unbelonging even in my belongingness., like this ought not feel like home even when it does...