I recently broke down and bought what my be…my first ever? fantasy novel. My dad bought me The Hobbit in middle school, but my dad was buying it as much for my dad as he was for me, so I’m not sure it counts. Also, The Hobbit is nice enough to also fall under the “classics” category. The fantasy novel I just bought does not.
It’s called The Purifying Fire. It’s A Planeswalker Novel. For those of you not familiar with the two-decade-old Magic: The Gathering trading card game…it’s one of the novels exploring the lore behind the two-decade-old Magic: The Gathering trading card game. Not high fantasy. Just candy-coated, mass-marketed, flash-bang drama. I bought it on my e-reader, because e-readers were created to hide embarrassing paperbacks.
It had lots of fighting and stuff-wrecking. It featured visits to three different planes of existence in a mere two hundred twenty-three pages. It had a female protagonist and a male supporting character and a lot of sexual tension. Exactly what I expected. Exactly what I was looking for.
Not exactly what I pride myself on reading most of the time. I was an English major, for God’s sake. I got my B.A. in Understanding Why Fiction Like This Is Popular, But Not, Like, Worth Reading.
But here’s the thing: this book was two hundred twenty-three pages long. And I tore through those two hundred twenty-three pages in four days.
The last time I tore through two hundred twenty-three pages in four days, I was being graded on it. And I wasn’t having nearly as much fun.
And what I picked up from this experience is that I should really get off my ass and get back to reading. And writing. And doing things.
I tend to get in my own way what it comes to doing things, because if I’m going to do them, I want to do them right. If I’m going to think, I want to think deeply. If I’m going to write, I want to write perfectly. I want to read Barth and Dostoyevsky for funsies. I want to have insightful things to say about the insightful things I seek out.
And, to be fair, I do. Some of the time. Like, an average of two months out of twelve, maybe, tops.
But for the other ten months, I don’t feel like Barth or Dostoyevsky are very funsies. And I don’t have anything interesting to say about them. And I mope and worry about the fact that I should…instead of doing anything else.
I stopped thinking about what I should be doing and decided to do something stupid and fun and read the “”wrong”” sort of book and wound up reading two hundred twenty-three pages in four days. Which is something. Not much, but much more than the nothing I was accomplishing while waiting around for depth and motivation to smack me in the face.
I don’t often have deep thoughts about deep things. But I have some solidly average thoughts about average things. I can read a Planeswalker novel and figure out this Doing Stuff habit is a good habit to feed into. Starting with my thoughts on Planeswalker novels. Because everything’s gotta start somewhere.