This is a weird condition I've noticed off and on for over thirty years with which I never had a problem before that time. For my first ten or twelve years of reading, when I did it for fun--say from age 6-18--I could keep it up for hours and never suffer fatigue. At my height, age 12-15, I was known to have read a 92-page book in one sitting, a 300-page book in three days, and averaged a little over a book a week in a year.
This all changed in the spring of my senior year in high school, when the awesome responsibility of being age 18 (an adult!) and about to graduate high school hit me, and I thought I'd better hurry and make good on writing quick before being shoved into some line of work I'd regret. I started reading for information rather than entertainment--like, even with a fiction book, if it won an award, why? What distinguished it above other books? If it didn't win one, same thing, why not? And, of course, I was reading for information trying to write my own book, and hold down a full college schedule. Also at some point I decided I should be comfortable while reading, so would settle down on a couch rather than at a hard school desk. Then my mind would start to wander thinking over all I had to do--that's the thing about inspiration--it's exhausting! And, almost as soon as I got comfortable, I would fall asleep. This was a huge problem my first two years in college, when I commuted to school. Got better my second two years, when I walked.
After that, it was off and on. Some years I could read almost at what I'd come to regard as my "normal" rate (meaning grades 6-11 when I could whip quickly through books of great length and advanced level) and some years I could barely poke along. Lately, particularly since I started renovating the house, I've found the only way I can stay awake and concentrated on a book, even a relatively easy fiction story, is with an audiobook while doing something else. When I sit down to read, especially for information, I almost invariably get tired and can't keep up for longer than an hour no matter how much rest I've had and read only a few pages in that hour when I should be able to do 50 or 60. I can see having this happen in non-fiction works when I'm reading slowly and trying to retain as much as possible but it happens in fiction, too. During Harry Potter books 5-6 I fell asleep every 1-3 pages so you can imagine how long it takes at that rate to read an 800-page book and I was humiliated that ten-year-olds whiz through them. I was going to put books in a holder for when this happened, but these were too big even for the holder and sometimes I scared my cats dropping these half-ton volumes when I fell asleep suddenly.
The only book I've read, entirely to myself, recently, at anything like a normal rate, was Ray Bradbury's Farewell Summer. Practically everything else is a real ordeal--even a good story. Reading is an additional ordeal now as I have to change glasses every time I decide to sit down. I'm going to try to fix up another area to read, that I don't associate so much with falling asleep as on the couch, but every time I think of all the work that will be, I feel tired again. I hope this fatigue goes away--it's associated almost entirely with reading and I think it's some kind of psychological panic response. I don't get especially tired doing other things, such as my jobs around the house, unless I have a real valid reason to be tired. I wonder if inspiration can be actually draining me--thinking of all the work it will be doing the projects I must do, the way they must be done--and the reading is preparation for that so associated with it. I wonder if I should resort to cruel and unusual means, such as dropping an ice cube down my back when I start to nod off, or just not push so hard and let it work itself out.
Dandy, how about the time of day? Do you nod off reading in the morning? If I leave it 'til bedtime I often have the same problem.
Well, for a long time the only time of day I read was in the evening and that was a problem. So, on winter days where there is not much else to do, I've moved it to afternoon--this is after sleeping plenty, getting up late, and having about a cup and a half of coffee--and most of the time it still happens! Then I am awake late in the evening and sometimes wide awake till 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.! So I think my internal clock is a bit off. Also, this is sad, but, at 2:00 a.m. there is not that much (if, arguably, any) of the day left so the pressure of all I feel I have to accomplish relaxes and the relaxation wakes me up!
More on my take of the downside of inspiration and emotional investment in same can be found on the last several posts of this thread: https://raybradburyboard.com/ev...901/m/9227092906/p/1
After reading and contributing to this forum for going on 11 years, I have seen many inspired by Ray and a few who don't like to be bothered by him, but I don't recall seeing one person raise this issue.
Does anyone have guilt stemming from lack of inspiration or lack of success from your inspired efforts? This hits me like a ton of bricks every spring. We have one big crop of dandelions around April, and another around the time of Ray's birthday in August. When I see them, all I can think is, another spring has arrived and I am still not a successful author.
I have done my best to read every word by and about Ray (woefully behind, even on listing, let alone being caught up on everything) and all I can think of is, he gave good advice, and why has it not worked for me? Was it sheer laziness on my part? Had I done nothing but beat my brains out writing 24/7/365 and neglecting all other pursuits, might I have eventually produced something profitable enough to secure literary success? (Don't answer that. Plenty of very talented people worked harder than I who didn't come near approaching Ray's level.)
Every time I look around at how beautiful the town and the area are this time of year, I think about how much I suck for not having produced a classic such as Dandelion Wine, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Member of the Wedding, Our Town, or my personal favorite, Mystery of the Witches' Bridge. (The lilacs are enough to remind me of that one.) I feel as if I let down every book and author I ever read and the entire area as someone should write about it through the eyes of a gifted artist.
I am particularly guilty regarding Ray, who has always been kind to me and given great advice. The one thing I have never quite grasped is how to keep going and keep believing without any material indication that you are making any meaningful or gainful progress whatsoever and are wasting your own time plus whatever resources are devoted to you. I have gone through this every spring since graduating college in 1984. It got worse when I turned 30, then 40, and now I am 50 and well in despair. Especially since this might be the last spring we have if the 2012 predictions prove true.
I used to talk over this issue all the time with Nard, who understood PERFECTLY and took things even beyond my level, but now I have no one to talk to about this issue and on top of everything it is bugging the living crap out of me so I am throwing it out there. I can derive very little enjoyment any more from books, likewise from movies, which also originate with writers. Music and gardening are my last refuges.
Well, I've been out of work for over a year now. I'm currently struggling with EDD for money.
I sing (even soloing) in 2 choirs (Bass Section Leader in the larger one), produce a radio show, play bass viol in a Folk-bluegrass band, play lots of jazz gigs with different musicians; and ALL of this is volunteer, i.e. no pay. Sometimes we get a small amount of cash playing gigs, but nothing to live on.
Success? I have lots of talent, but can't provide for my family, which, as you might imagine causes some resentment and coldness at home. So, I can relate, as they say.
Sorry to hear that, B2. Times are tough all over, and I spent a life learning to believe in and trust "the system" and that all I had to do was find my proper place in the economy. Thing is, the system has disintegrated just at the time when I'm too old to "start fresh" and too young to "just die." Big corporations owe allegiance to no country and they have pulled the funds out of this one. I am not struggling too seriously yet but see bad times up ahead and no idea how to divert them--even if I completed every writing project successfully.
If it's any consolation (and I know it isn't), dandelion, you've written at least one book that I still insist is pretty darn good. That's success, by one measure.
Financial success, on the other hand, seems depressingly random. There's a guy whose office was about one block from where I live. He worked in IT and introduced some innovation or other which was successful. And then it became even more successful. Soon this guy was a zillionaire (please don't understand any of this as criticism; he's a perfectly admirable man) and he used his cash to realize a boyhood dream - to fly into space (with the Russians).
Now this fella is a permanent celebrity and role model and people stand amazed at his achievements. And yet ... it doesn't seem to be based on anything different to what thousands, maybe millions of people have done. Everything sprang from one initial success, and at least some of the rest was simply bought with money. Which you and I could do, if we had it.
I'm probably underestimating all sorts of issues of character ... but it still seems so random to me.
Thanks, Doug. I did put my heart and soul into that book, and years ago a good friend who believed in its quality was kind enough to reprint it, charging me only cost on materials. Many of those copies are sitting on my back porch. They are available for sale from me, but eventually I want to list them on Amazon.com. As a matter of fact, my book has a title and author listing on there now from other people selling copies, so it probably wouldn't take that much, but I'm nervous about getting one or more crucial details wrong.
Also, there are only so many copies left and I NEVER want to go through another desktop printing. If I can't get it into the hands of an interested publisher, I guess I'll have to go to POD.
As far as the success thing, caught the end of a special on this fellow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_J._Hill and they seemed perplexed as to why he was so phenomenally successful. Lots of other people were in the right place at the right time, were intelligent, and worked hard. His times were very much like these times are getting to be--with society sharply divided between the super rich and the desperate poor. Those of us who learned the concept of middle class are finding it in alarmingly short supply these days.
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