Thursday, April 1, 2010

Change of Heart

You May Have Noticed...
My posting frequency is down. It's true, I've been struggling with this blog a little bit lately. Maybe it's the lingering gloomy weather. Maybe it's my impending forty-(cough cough) birthday, or my baby's kindergarten registration. I don't know.

I feel like I'm coming to one of life's crossroads. One of those times when you question whether you're doing it right, you know? Wasn't I supposed to be a CEO by now? Or at least a VP of something? Shouldn't I have an expense account? Maybe a jetpack?

And my kids. Am I doing a good job parenting them? I mean, I think I'm doing a pretty good job. But am I doing the best I can? Shouldn't I be doing more flash-card oriented games, and planning more culturally-enriched outings? Why is Spongebob such an integral part of our family?

I struggle. Most of the time, I think I'm doing OK, but you know what? I could probably do more. Do better.

Be better.

And when I think about all the things in my life that I could change, it occurs to me that one avenue of personal enrichment would be to reach for better in my personal reading. Perhaps all that potential that my teachers talked about when I was my kids' age has been siphoned off into frivolty. Into literature that doesn't matter. Literature that's fun. How can that be good for me?

There's no gain without pain, right? If I want to stretch my brainpower, I should be reading Proust and Tolstoi, right?

Perhaps the romance critics are right, though it pains me to say it. I can blame everything that's wrong with my life on the unreasonable expectations I've had -- Jayne Ann Krentz, where's my mogul? Christina Skye, I'm waiting for that Special Ops guy to fall through my roof, put me in grave danger, and then rescue me from it! (or, wait, do I really want that?) Nora Roberts, where's my quiet but damaged rock of a man, whose only redemption lies in my love? Dammit, JR Ward, WHERE'S MY HOTT ANGSTY VAMPIRE??

Clearly, the only solution is to give up romance and fantasy novels and read classic, somber literary works. Books that take weeks to finish. Books that end in death and despair. Books that cast a jaded and ironic eye on the notion of "happiness." Books that really hurt if you drop them on your foot. And smell musty.

These are the kind of books that will lower my expectations from life. After a steady diet of Thomas Hardy, Dostoyevsky and Gabriel García Márquez, spending a cold rainy weekend camping out with 120 Girl Scouts will look pretty good. Milton and Bronte will make my cubicle feel like paradise in comparison. A little Nietzche and Sartre will... well, they'd probably make me want to slit my wrists, so maybe I'll hold off on those.

It's time to put away childish things; time to be not a child in understanding. It's time to end my shallow, superficial relationship with genre fiction and reach to be a better, smarter, more serious and more fully realized human being, through better, smarter, and more serious reading.

I'm going to need a new blog name. Classic Heroes? Alpha Classics? I could use some ideas.

13 comments:

Smokinhotbooks said...

Dear god please tell me this is an April foo joke...

Chris said...

What Smokinhotbooks wrote... Don't do it! The classics and works of "Great Literahhchur" will only bring you tears and pain.

Christine E. said...

You made me clutch my hypothetical pearls!

As much as I love classics (and I actually do love many of the writers you listed), my first thought on reading that post was "Nooooo!" until I remembered the date. Very well done, but don't even joke like that! I need you to tell me what to read when I'm going through one of those long phases, like the one I'm in now, when I mostly read romance novels.

Nicola O. said...

What?! You doubt my sincerity??

Kaetrin said...

Happy April Fool's Day Nicola! You had me going there for just a minute.

Lori said...

Oh geez. I saw this post early in the morning and set it aside so I could think of something profound and smart to talk you out of it! You know, the whole "do what makes you happy, not what you think others think you should do..." blah blah blah.

Not that there's anything wrong with the classics...

Darren Daz Cox said...

I couldn't imagine you without a foil lettered novel or two around, at least one with a painting of a waxed chested hunk who proclaims his love for a woman so un-slutty yet open for anything and not psycho at all, after god knows what torment and drama and one full of purple prose and people's parts partialy purple with passion. At least that's how I imagine the books must be but reading your blog is like peeking into your underwear drawer without a fetish to stir me! I'd like it if you occasionally wrote about romance in other genres such as the plot line Joe Haldeman puts in his sci-fi books, but I think you should write about what you love best!

EdgyJuneCleaver said...

Hilarious! I'm glad yesterday was April fools because I would miss your reviews about special ops vampires who are broken and only redeemed by your love.

Nicola O. said...

Yay! I love it when a plan comes together. The thing about Spongebob is true though.

Daz, me switching to classics would be like you switching to pastorals. Or maybe to easy-listening, lulz.

Jill Sorenson said...

Ha! Those heavy books are dangerous falling objects! I'd better avoid them.

Phyl said...

I almost believed it until you started talking about it being better to read the books that ended in death and despair. Then I knew this was an April Fool's joke.

Hilarious! Beautifully done.

Amy said...

I'm not a regular commenter here, but I do read your blog regularly. And, girl, you about made my heart stop. Seriously, I was staging an intervention...

And then I caught the date. HA! Yeah, don't do that anymore...

(nice one!)

Nicola O. said...

@Jill, hee, I am particularly fond of that paragraph.

@Phyl, what, too much? LOL. That was the point where I started wanting to argue with myself! It made me itchy to write this post.

@Amy, I promise to never do anything like this for at least three hundred and sixty-ish days.

Love ya, my readers and commentors. Forgive me?

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