Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Liberation from the Bad

This is a New Year’s Resolution of sorts: I am not putting up with anything bad.  I was overcome with this feeling of intolerance—ironically a feeling I’m almost always brimming over with—as I was cleaning up my apartment the other day.  I picked up two books that were on the couch, both half finished, and finally said, “fuck it” and put them away on the shelf.  

I felt good after doing this.  It was like shedding unneeded weight.  The list of stuff I want to read never seems to get any shorter and to be slowed down with stuff that isn’t of interest to me doesn’t make any sense.  I used to finish everything I’d start only for the satisfaction I got from completion.  From here on out, I need to receive some manner of pleasure out of completion, no more suffering through crap just to say I did it.  

I tend to read a book I like in three-seven days depending on duration and subject matter.  Most recently I finished The Virgin Suicides.  I didn’t like it but read in it three days because I thought it was well written and occasionally made me laugh out loud.  The story’s “plot” for a lack of a better word wasn’t to my liking as well as a host of other “Chad-conceived” shortcomings…  If I no longer put up with all the bad stuff it’s kinda scary to think of what I could get done in terms of reading and life in general.  So exhilarating was this new found yet inherent freedom that the night I liberated myself I started a few ebay auctions for ‘Chad’s Bad Pile of Bad Books that Suck’, in addition to getting through one hundred and twenty pages of John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things.  

When I’m writing and struggling in the “re-reading/revision” portion, I look to see if there is an idea or one point that is worth saving: I try to justify the struggle.  If there is something of merit, then I’ll copy and paste the whole section that presented the problem in another file to struggle over another day as to not impede my progress.  If the portion of material I’m looking at has no quality at all, I’ve gotten really good at highlighting the whole thing and hitting the delete key.  It took me a while to be able to do that as in the beginning I thought everything I wrote was gold but now, there really is not a more liberating feeling for me than cutting out all the bad stuff and moving on to use my time more efficiently.  Now, the same is true for me reading material.  All that’s bad shall not linger.

Quantifying what is bad is a little tricky.  Henceforth, ‘bad’ will be subject to my whims and temperament, my pre-buying/screening process, feelings I have about previous works I’ve read by the author, and what ever I’m drinking at the moment.

This is probably something that most people have lived by or at least followed through with for all of their adult-reading-for-pleasure lives, but for me it was a revelation of sorts. I’m done with all that’s bad in life, and going forward I’ll hate accordingly: “strongly, exclusively, steadfastly.”