reading roadblocks of my own making

I have a confession to make.

No, I’m not confessing that I was full of crap when I said I’d write every day – you can see that for yourself.

No, you also know I’m a big slacker and skip work whenever I think I can get away with it. And stay up past midnight when I swore I would start getting to bed earlier.

The real confession is this: I’ve been pissed off at a book for a week.

It’s childish and ridiculous, I know this.  It’s not the book’s fault I have to review it. Or that I hadn’t finished the review yet (didn’t even start until the day it was due). I chose the gig, I even chose the book. But I’m blaming the book anyway.

I am a procrastinator from waaaaaaay back.  Certainly when it comes to writing, some kind of pressure is necessary – and that pressure is rarely internal. So the deadline is my frienemy (frenemy?). I hate it, but can’t accomplish much without it. Much like having a job – don’t like it, can’t keep a roof over my head without it (anyone who has a solution to this one, please pass it along!).

For the first time, I received a review copy a month before the review was due.  I picked it up two weeks ago and lied told myself I’d read it, get it done early and for once not email the review just before midnight on the due date. No one is surprised that the story did not unfold in quite that manner.

I read 95% of it (short stories, so it wasn’t technically necessary for me to read every story to review it adequately) more than a week ago – and then just carried it around with me, not reading it. And since I hadn’t finished it – and hadn’t written the review – I really couldn’t read anything else. I’ve been busy this last week (luckily) and watched a lot of Hulu and DVDs. But each night as I went to bed, I would find myself grumbling (in my head – I haven’t gone so far as to actually yell at the book out loud) that I couldn’t read any of the dozen books sitting on the shelf. Each night, they looked better and more interesting than the night before. Torture, thy name is unread books.

Last night, after work, I read the last four stories, finished my review of Best European Fiction 2010, and emailed it – and the joy was quite out of proportion with the product, let me assure you. I practically danced to my two (!) stacks of unread books and grabbed The Madonnas of Leningrad and started reading – after midnight, naturally.

And it was wonderful. Finished it an hour ago. Granted, it was only 228 pages, and I did take the day off. Still – it’s good to be free!

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