Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bugger structure. I never really liked the idea of it anyway

So… blah. Blah, blah, blah...

(alert: fearful navel-gazing of blogger with existentialist crisis ahead)

For the first time in absolutely ages, I’ve got working internet, laptop, and nothing pressing to do apart from creatively dodge the guilt-driven instinct to alphabetise my books or something. What better time to catch up on all those must-visit websites? The ones I used to go by every day. The ones I would post at. Or (shock! horror!) perhaps even write a post or two here, to stiffen the sinews of this rather weedy-looking blog.

Except I can’t. Somehow, the vim has gone. It left months ago, slamming the door and leaving behind nothing but a lump of wet laundry in the washing machine.

Since this blog and my old internetovating haunts have or had a lot to do with books, perhaps it’s not surprising. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve come to the hardly earth-shattering realisation that it has been absolutely bloody ages since I last read a book that got me really excited. They’re all, sort of… blah. Neither dreadful, suck-your-brains out, pound-your-eyeballs into mush crap that forces me to keep reading just to stagger, reeling at its sheer awfulness, nor oh-my-god-i-love-this-oh-my-god-yeeeesss wonderfulness that leaves me blissed out and re-reading my favourite bits for days on end.

Nope. They just sort of all hover in this middle ground of bland, boring, blah. Okay to pass the time between metro stops, but instantly forgettable to the extent that TWICE now this year, I’ve bought a second copy of a book because I forgot that I had already read it.

Anyhow, I know it’s time to worry now, because after pretty much a day of on-and-off surfing through romance etc., websites, blogs and so on, the book reviews that have me most fired up (at least to the extent of looking up the delivery charges on Amazon) are two from the Fortean Times: Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, and an anthropological study of the history of cannibalism written by the daughter of a paleoanthropologist and a master chef.

I think if I had to put my finger on what’s made the books I’ve read recently so unexciting, it’s perhaps that they take themselves too seriously. They’re just not as much fun as they used to be. Same thing for a lot of the sites I used to frequent. The humour seems just a tad forced, the reactions and posts a tad predictable. The joins seem to show. It’s like there’s less joy in it now. And I don't feel like writing because I can't help worrying that the same applies here. Sigh.

Is this a consequence of the last few years of looming doom and gloom? Or even that I'm realising this now because of the current doom and gloom? Or is the change in my own attitude and outlook? Are these the first symptoms of conservatism-with-a-small-c that strikes so many as middle age approaches? As the new austerity creeps in this deadly pace, will I develop preferences in reading and blogging that are serious, earnest and meaningful? Okay, maybe not the cannibals. But they could be leading me in a merry dance towards an inclination to seriousness. Who knows where this could all lead to? Discussing oven cleaning? grammar? central heating? (patience, my lovelies) *blushes*

I should never have done that course in economics.


Beth said...

1. Hurrah, you LIVE. Yay!
2. Books are so frikken boring anymore, I know.
3. My blog is boring and lifeless, so it's not just you.
4. I never read anything on the Smart Bitches site anymore. Predictable and joyless indeed.
5. This comment is now over.


EvilAuntiePeril said...

Hi Beth,
1. Yes, I live - my joy is unconfined that you came by, thank you. I was pretty convinced that despite bookwormom's valiant efforts, my reader stats were in the negative, due to severe blog neglect.

2. Yep. I think it was the "Acheron" thing that hammered it home for me. I was in a bookstore the other weekend piled high with copies, promo, and just realised that a couple of years ago it would have given me a buzz. And now, blah. I couldn't even be bothered to read the back cover.

3. Phew. I think.

4. It's not just SBs for me. Sigh. After the Acheron epiphany, I went through most of the romance-and-book-type sites I used to visit, trying to find something that would get me excited, or interested, or SOMEthing.

But it's as if everyone's stopped having fun with the genre in favour of trying to prove that really it's meaningful and serious, and as fans, we have a duty to explain this to ignorant people who disrespect us. All The Time. And here's a kit to help you prove it to the world. And if they don't agree then maybe we should talk about how what they read is boring crap that only a snob could enjoy.

And now, because of this, I feel obliged to point out that the above is hyperbole.

I'm not saying that romance shouldn't be taken seriously, far from it. But I'm missing the fun and the sheer delight in the silliness of it all too. Right now, it seems that this is being lost in all the discussions about perceptions, the industry, craft, respect and all that stuff. Maybe this is what makes the lighter side feel stilted, somehow, to me? Either that, or like I said, it could just be me, the economic climate, or a combination of a million other things.

But despite the ultimate nuttiness, I miss the exuberance of early Anita and Dara Joy's high camp. They were fun.

And y'know, sometimes, I just want to kick back and be like, "Well, there's this alien prince, Grokk T'maar who can shapeshift into a duckbilled platypus who was kidnapped by the evil Tlufflax aliens who are going to take over the planet, but he's also a trained Special Forces guy, so he escapes and then has a marriage of convenience with Mylyndy who's a secret virgin with enormous hair, except they can't consummate their love because Grokk has this venom-filled spur..."

5. I think I've found one topic that I can write about. At length.(that wasn't supposed to happen, but I have a cold). Eek.

Suisan said...


You blogged!!

Been totally missing you yet not knowing myself what to write about or to blog about or what sites to hit. Keep lurking around the edges of maybe four to five blogs on my sidebar; to take the others off would seem disrespectful? I think?

I read Lord of the Flies recently. OK, it was a touch boring. I'll admit. But other than that, I haven't been reading all that much, which makes it hard to blog and oh, I dunno. I can't quite get in the groove.

But I'm happy to see you back. I am.

EvilAuntiePeril said...

Hi suisan, yay back! Have missed you too and thank you for the welcome back - sorry to hear you've also got the blogging/reading/posting malaise. I keep thinking I need to take up something new to kickstart things again. Dunno...

BTW, I've been racking my brains trying to remember who did the "Lord of the Files/Flies" joke that I now think of every time I read that title. Terry Pratchett? (maybe Good Omens?).

I've been reading a lot, just not really enjoying it. The number of half-finished books lying around the flat is getting out of hand. Maybe I need to be doing something totally different for a break.

Bookwormom said...

:) I do my part to boost your stats. I had a really long dry spell of over a year when I didn't read much & didn't really enjoy what I managed to finish. Don't have any helpful suggestions or ideas, just that eventually it'll go away. Hopefully.

As for the lack of fun surfing the Romanceland internet, I agree. I pretty much post s few times s week, visit a few people & go home. The rest of it is..boring.

Except maybe the latest kerfuffle between Laurie Gold and a new blog called DIKladiesrule over the blog's use of "Laurie's" acronym. Even so..

EvilAuntiePeril said...

hello bookwormom, thanks again for the stat support :-)

I'm hoping it will go away soon too. Ironically, last time I was in a slump like this, I discovered online romancelandia and that rekindled my interest at the time.

Not helping this time, alas. I did see that kefuffle, but somehow it just didn't grab my attention. Dunno. I have to think on this.

Incidentally, I am in awe at the filing/organising going on at your place...:-)

Alexis said...

I didn't know! A blog! Whoo hooo! How are you?

Miss you loads x x x