Slumps happen to readers as well as writers. All book lovers have been stuck in that rut where every book seems droll or redundant, trite and tired. After a string of unremarkable books, it’s easy to get discouraged, to slam covers shut and leave books stockpiled on dusty shelves, murmuring:
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
I was in such a slump. Too many bad books in a row.
(Is it fair, as an author, to say there are far too many bad books available these days? I dunno. But it’s true. there is no shortage of reading material, yet prose that speaks to the heart seems rare.)
Discouraged, I rummaged through a bargain bin, idly selecting books on superficial criteria like interesting covers, cute fonts, and a few jacket descriptions, I brought home a robust armload of books and promptly abandoned them on a bookshelf.
A month or so later, in a fit of desperation, I grabbed a handful of random bargain books, earnestly hoping one would prove worth my time.
Boy, was I surprised.
From page one, this book had me. Entertained, delighted, moved, and genuinely enthralled. Wild Child by T.C. Boyle is a collection of amazing short stories. This exciting treasure reminded me that while there may be nothing new under the sun, that doesn’t mean we can’t find something that is new to us, or someone who says something in a new or unique way.
When you find yourself bogged down with the mundane or inane, don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. Be patient, not expectant. Take a fresh look, a deep breath, and give the world a chance to surprise you again.
When the time is right, you will discover a story or an author who dares to make new things familiar and familiar things new.