Readings and Inspiration

Though I had to drive through torrential downpours to get there, I quite enjoyed the reading given on Monday night by my former writing mentor, David Crouse. I hadn’t seen David since the last big Bradford bash back in October 2003, but careful readers of this site’s sidebar will have noticed that his first book, Copy Cats has been a fixture on the Geek List since its inception earlier this year. It was a real treat to go and see him read and to bump into a couple of familiar faces in the process and it was, as one of those familiar faces, Dylan, said to me, quite inspirational. This weekend I’d finally begun to work on my novel again in earnest, and when I got home from the reading I got right back to work.

My first task was to get Stephanie to sit down and listen to me read my latest pages. This has become a tradition of mine and it’s actually the only experience Stephanie has had with the novel. It’s only through the bits and pieces I’ve read to her that she has any idea what it’s about, but she has a very good ear for what’s working and what isn’t and she isn’t shy about letting me know what she thinks. It turned out that the first part of what I read to her was working quite well, and that the second part, which is where I’d run into a roadblock earlier in the weekend, was not working. I should’ve been able to realize by now that, usually, when it doesn’t come easy for me, that’s because something is there that shouldn’t be. For better or worse, it often takes my reading it to Stef for me to realize this.

So, my second task was to start to reimagine the part that wasn’t working. That task began before bed and continued as I slept and by Tuesday morning, as I write this, I have a much clearer picture of what that second section should be.

Going to readings, to movies, to plays—it always has this effect on me. And when it’s someone like David, someone I knew, someone who went to my school before he taught there, someone who has been along many of the paths that I’ve been along, and that I’m on now—that just inspires me even more. Seeing David read, and having him sign a copy of his book for me afterward, was just the sort of pick-me-up my writerly self needed.

I haven’t started in on the book yet, but I’ll let you know when I do. And for those of you interested in seeing David read, check out the reading schedule found here.