Franzen and I did not get along. I picked up his memoir The Discomfort Zone but I almost immediately zoned out and did not finish it.
I firmly believe that life is too short to read books you are not passionate about--that philosophy dictates much of how I live my life. I want great food, a healthy mind and body, new challenges that excite and engage, and Franzen's memoir was not a challenge that engaged me.
I put aside Franzen and turned to Joan Didion's The White Album, but I am sorry to say the same thing happened. I am seeking out inspiration for my current personal essay project and I need to read pieces by authors I feel connected to and inspired by--authors with similar voices, thoughts, subjects, and experiences.
Sometimes you have to look no further than your own bookcase to find the right work for you, and I almost smacked myself in the forehead when I realized I already had what I wanted to be reading. I had a stack of library books urging me to start diving in before the return deadline loomed too close, and yet I still turned to my shelf and pulled out Inside Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories.
This work pulls from myriad voices in the LGBTQ community, voices similar and very different from my own. Sometimes the right book finds you at just the right time; I had bought this book four years ago in my final semester at university and had yet to crack it open, but I am glad I did now.
More updates to follow.