Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Happiest People in the World

I don't believe in writer's block. That said, I seem to have some form of it. I generally hand out platitudes like "butt in the chair," and "put in the hours," etc. Good advice. Which I have not been taking. I seem to have hit some kind of creative wall or, um, block. All my stories seem miles away from finished. Perhaps hardly even started. The new novel-ish thing I thought I possibly started seems honestly like just too much work. And the finished-ish novel is floating around out there, hoping for an agent. So, again, I've been reading.

But, I have been reading with diversity in mind. Trying to find the thing that will make me dash to the keyboard or pen and paper and start writing. So far, I'm just enjoying the reading and thinking that everyone else is already doing such a good job of it, maybe I should just be a professional reader.

I'll get over it.

Meanwhile, I just finished Brock Clark's The Happiest People in the World. This past semester at Stonecoast, I had the immense pleasure of hearing Brock read from this novel. If you ever get the chance to do so, you should. Hilarious is not an overstatement. The novel, even if you read it quietly to yourself, is very funny. Brock's reading of it makes it even funnier. But, this is not funny in a lighthearted way. This is the kind of funny that is really sad. About a Danish cartoonist who finds his life at risk because of a cartoon that offends many, the book has the feel of a mad-cap spy novel. And then, as you read on, there's also so much humanity in these characters who cannot seem to get it right, no matter how easy it seems, that you can't help feeling miserable and uncomfortable while still laughing a little. It's that kind of book.

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