Write Despite

The write-20-minutes-a-day-for-365-days-come-hell-or-high-water challenge

Zombie Summer

A writer can’t create in a vacuum, as they say. So all of us are avid readers first, writers second.

I suppose. At least I hope.

Otherwise, it would be sort of like someone who’s barely picked up a bat suddenly deciding to be a pitcher for the Yankees, right?

So this summer, thanks to the book club I’ve been in for years—without which I’d never experience the wide range of awesome and sometimes questionable selections that I do—I’ve read Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I liked them both. And yes, I realize that’s not much of a summer reading list, but summer’s still in full swing and I’m a slow reader, okay?

Then we read World War Z.

Hole-lee crap.

Let me just say that ever since I had kids, I can’t do books or movies about the apocalypse, torture, prison, or even anything really depressing. I just can’t. It’s too much for my little psyche to bear and it keeps this rabid insomniac up even longer into the night.

And so… this summer. Zombies. And chaos and destruction and people getting their faces eaten off. And children…children!…being attacked and killed and shot and starved and left for dead and…

zombie cartoon

Oh, the humanity. That’s my cutesie zombie picture, BTW, because I didn’t want to show this one that I found from the actual movie (or so I hear–like I would ever see that one):

baby zombie

Sorry. It’s just wrong, isn’t it?

I’m not saying it’s not a good book. It’s very well written, very clever. The descriptions are over-the-top visual and it’s all too realistically rendered.

The thing is, I tend to read at night, when the kiddos are finally in bed and the hubby is on his laptop and I finally have a little time to myself. Now imagine me reading this grisly doomsday tale right at bedtime. No, no, no, I’d told myself from the first page in. This would be a daylight-only selection.

But then I got sucked in, and I kept thinking I’d surely read the worst already and had to be time for the living to kick the undead’s ass at last. And I was behind on my reading. So finally I settled in one night and actually read it.

In bed.

At night.

I was running from zombies all night long.

I finally got up and wrote. Yes, wrote! If you can’t sleep, I figure, you might as well make sure no one else can either. By that, I mean I woke up Spock with my stirrings and so disturbed the doggie by my bed that he had to follow me downstairs and begin snoring under my desk. For 20 minutes, I tried to chase away the demons screaming through my brain and replace them with the much more pedestrian imaginings of my own characters and scenes and dialogue.

Which immediately made me start to nod off.

What are you reading this summer? Anything horrifying? Gratifying? Inspiring? Would love any and all recommendations (romantic comedy, anyone?).

—Cathy

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3 thoughts on “Zombie Summer

  1. Nothing like reading a good book to make your muse dance. But I’m wishing you Zombie-free nights.
    Thank you for asking what I’m reading. I’m preparing a book rave (because why write about a book you didn’t like. Like, really, why?) for this Thursday–419 by Will Ferguson. 419 won the Giller in 2012. And you’ll find out why when you read my rave. (I hope you’ll read my rave.)
    Happy Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring reading

  2. Elizabeth on said:

    Hi. I’m about to begin the new novel, “Big Brother” by Lionel Shriver. Very timely topic and sounds moving….I’ll let you know…

  3. Thanks for the recommendation Elizabeth. Let us know how you like it.

    Leanne, it’s interesting. The thing I liked most about World War Z was the global aspect of it–how the respective countries and sectors, military and commercial and Hollywood–how all of them reacted to the crisis, and so believably. Looking forward to your rave on 419!

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