By Mark Alpert
Most of the time, I love writing fiction. But there are days, and even weeks, when I’m just sick and tired of it.
It’s so much easier to simply read. After I finished writing the first draft of my latest novel, I celebrated by going on a reading binge. Over the past two weeks I’ve read five novels. Right now I’m in the middle of Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo. It’s very good!
I’m also getting caught up in the baseball playoffs. We’re a Yankees family — I can’t help it, my parents are from the Bronx, it’s in our blood — but lately we’ve been rooting for the Mets. It was the Chase Utley slide that did it. Everyone in New York suddenly forgot all their differences when they saw Utley throw himself at Ruben Tejada. The whole city arose in righteous fury and kicked the Dodgers right out of the postseason.
Here’s another great distraction: the new season of The Walking Dead just started. God, I love that show.
And I’m taking some time to observe things more carefully. My wife, my kids. Everything’s moving along so quickly. Too much homework, not enough sleep. There are parent-teacher conferences next week, and next spring we have to start visiting colleges. A lot of meltdowns and miscommunication, but occasionally something amusing happens. Recently, my son was impressed when he discovered I knew who Bobby Shmurda was. (In truth, I knew about the guy only because I saw his last name somewhere and thought it was funny, so I looked him up on Wikipedia.)
Soon enough, I’ll return to that first draft and start making the changes that my editor wants. And then I’ll start a new novel, based on an idea that’s still pretty nebulous in my mind but could be very interesting if I can figure out how to structure it. But right now, I don’t want to even think about it.
I want to listen to other people’s stories for a change. And I’m looking forward to the Mets-Cubs game tonight.