The dead zone

This time of the year in publishing is affectionately known as the dead zone.  Everyone is either on vacation or too busy catching up on the piles that grew while they were beachside somewhere to return phone calls or e-mails, the normally swollen river of queries slows down to a babbling brook, and offers are all pending the rubber stamp of a boss who’s in some foreign land drinking copious amounts of wine.  A kind of lethargy sets in during the hazy month of August and it feels like the whole industry has been crop-dusted with Xanax.

For me, this lethargy translates into a kind of reading fatigue.  I find the idea of diving into a new book vaguely exhausting while simultaneously wishing for that reading experience that will act like a jolt of espresso to snap me out of my summer doldrums.  Instead of excited about starting the next book on my list, however, I’m feeling like it’s a chore.   I think that those of us who define ourselves through our crazy, passionate love affair with literature occasionally find ourselves muttering bitterly, “more words, words, words”  at the sight of a shiny  new hardcover 23 people have recommended.  This too shall pass I know from long experience.

When I found myself starting three different books, flipping through a few pages, and putting them down to play Candy Crush this week, I decided I needed a break.  So, I’m reading blogs, magazines, and newspaper articles, Tweets, FB posts (you didn’t think I’d stop reading altogether, did you?).  I’m watching House of Cards and the Little League World Series.  And, I’m processing the coverage of Robin William’s tragically premature passing.   (Here are a couple of sobering and interesting perspectives on the sadness at the core of Williams’ brand of creative genius:  A great essay in Cracked and Russell Brand’s eloquent print eulogy.)  In fact, as in all good relationships, a little time away from the object of one’s affections can be salubrious.

And, of course, during this book sabbatical, I’m making lists of the titles I’m going to dive into when my energy levels pick up.  I’m thinking big biographies might be in my future….

Tell me, how do you guys get over book fatigue?  Or do you never experience such a thing?

5 Responses to The dead zone

  1. Katie Newingham says:

    Still processing Robin myself and Russell Brand has it right. People are shocked when funny or bright people take their lives, but I think so many times in our world of extroversion, where the external is what we focus on (stature, beauty, clothing, polished presence, whatever…) people who are are outside the norm of “acceptable” have to find ways to fit in. It’s heartbreaking when people feel they must overcompensate to have a place at the table – all of the energy that goes into that must be exhausting.

    I watched Good Will Hunting last night and for two hours Robin Williams was still alive – I guess he will live on through his movies and his family. It’d be better if he were still here.

    On a lighter note, it’s surprising you play Candy Crush, Miriam. I have no clue what that game is but get invited to play several times a day on FB. Also, would you mind asking Jim why he doesn’t like Good Will Hunting. I think he mentioned this on Twitter and after watching it again, can’t figure out what’s not to like.

  2. obat kuat says:

    This one is also very interesting to me like that was written above.

  3. Candy Crush Level 235 – It’s a sickness.
    And don’t forget the War Games.
    I should probably be writing, huh?

  4. Lynn says:

    I guess the publishing industry is like France. Everything closes down in the month of August and I do mean everything! You don’t want to get sick here because you won’t find a doctor or dentist to save your life, or your tooth! If that’s not bad enough, your favorite boulangerie and neighborhood café are closed as well. What’s a person to do? What any normal French person would do! You go on holiday like everyone else!

    As for books, I never get tired of reading books, but I can understand you reaching that point. I think the difference is, I read for pleasure, while a lot of your reading is required reading and that makes all the difference in the world.

    I have to admit Candy Crush can become an addiction! (Level 514!) Once you start, you can’t stop, so I limit my playing time to when I’m watching TV. I tell myself, I’m multitasking!

  5. Linda Sands says:

    Argh. Yes. That dreaded DEAD ZONE. Not to be confused with the HOLIDAY DEAD ZONE, or the kids back to school dead zone or the maternity leave one or the I’m getting married/divorced/moving dead zone. 😉
    I love the writers who blog about the pace of publishing today. They have it spot on, with the “hurry up and wait” , followed by hurry up and wait some more. Sigh. No wonder so many folks turn to Self publishing, at least you will see your work in print before you die. Even if you’re the only one to see it in print.
    Is there a solution to the DEAD ZONE? Probably not. Because, as one pile moves off a desk to another desk, there is another waiting to take its spot. I’ve often thought about a better system, but it involves algorithms and speedy decisions, both things foreign to creatives.
    What do you think?
    Could there be a timer set for each submission? Like an exploding manuscript? If you don’t hit yes or no before 5pm Friday, you’re out and the next guy gets a chance…
    Hmm. I might have a book idea there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>