The Happy Ending

Near no.2 Soho

Near no.2 Soho

I’m trying, well I’m always trying, to manage my time and force myself, even if I’m tired, to sit down when I come home from work and draw.

I’ll admit that for every time I am good and focused there are 3 times that I slip.

The TV is a great allie of mine in this respect.  You can put any old shit on in the background and then keep your nose down and work at the paper.

The best stuff to have on is a cooking show or Friends. The cooking shows are soothing, require little effort of concentration. No story lines, no dialogue demanding attention, maybe except for Nigella’s sexual innuendoes and occasional poetic outbursts eulogizing some ingredient or the other.

Friends is really the most reliable one. (Lately, at least) I know the jokes to nearly every episode. I’ve watched them so many times over the last 10 years that I could go in for a script read and be word-perfect.

But books are really bad for managing the drawing. Even if it’s a book I’ve read 50 times over, by the time I’m right in the middle of it I can’t seem to be able to put it down. I can’t do anything until it’s done.

A new book is possibly the worst thing yet. It becomes all consuming.

Finished reading a book that had me tossing and turning all night, and then later, restless and distracted all day at work.

The start of the book wasn’t promising, or at least, I had this vague dread about the ending. The more I read the more the dread grew. I had this horrible feeling that there would be no good end for any characters I’d grown attached to or no bad end for the characters I hated, and would prefer to stop reading it.

Reading too many Barbara Cartland’s and Heyer’s does that to you. After awhile you only want the happy ending. The happy ending is a great comfort. Nothing bad can really happen if you know the plot by heart and the baddies always get their just deserts.

Cheating by reading the spoiler for the new book on Wikipedia was a constant temptation.

When I finally raced through it, raced through to the end, I felt wound up and shaken, like on a drug.

I had to walk around the flat for about 5 mins. I couldn’t sit down and concentrate. I’ve only just remembered I’ve left my dinner lying stone cold in the microwave. Clean forgot about it.

Does this happen to anyone else? Does a good book just destroy your peace of mind?

Or can you put it down and forget about it easily?

I wish I could.

It’s one minute to 11 pm and I haven’t made one new line on my drawing.

Now I have to go re-heat my fucking dinner. I bet the chicken will be like rubber.

Kitchen Window

Kitchen Window


26 thoughts on “The Happy Ending

  1. the internet is to me, what books are to you. i constantly have to force myself to focus and get down to it a little bit every day. and mostly because i sit down with my computer, the minute its open, i feel like getting online and reading. and we know how that usually goes :S

    the internet is a damn time blackhole that needs to be doled out in rationed amounts..

    • i have also an internet addiction. thank god though, i’m online so much at work I tend not to so much at home. sigh. I was watching casino royal the other day. but it was too tiresome to actually follow the plot, so I just wikied it. then i wikied the author. then i wikied le chifre

  2. Passionate reader!! ❤ I like it. I've had so many books fuck up my life. I've gotten so shaken up by books that I couldn't eat my dinner or sleep…..
    Love this entry ~_~

    • I somehow imagined you would be a passionate reader too. I totally couldn’t sleep the night before. it was so odd. its rare when that happens though, its rare a book is that all engrossing that i can’t bear to put it down. dinner was, as i suspected, dreadful, cold and dry.

  3. Ditto. The Internet, finding good blogs like yours, great conversations, books, films. They all do that. I think of it as forceful energy that paralyzes for the moment. The worst however is a class I am taking this semester. It is an evening class and finishes at 9.00 pm. I don’t drink, but I think the feeling that this class gives me is what one would call a high. For such a great class, it is a pity how it screws me up completely. I can never sleep Tuesday nights nor do anything productive either. Just be full of beans and stalk around alternating between brooding and excited. My Wednesday mornings are terrible and I almost always get up late. Gah.

  4. I haven’t read a book for more than a year because of this. Other people, small un toilet trained ones, depend on me – I have been training them to make cheese sandwiches and the bigger one can open yoghurt. That way all I’ll have to deal with is their shit.

    I haven’t even been able to follow all the awesome blogs that I subscribe to – including yours! Never mind writing something coherent. I’ve been using adjectives on my grocery list to keep my hand in.

    I’m about to start the Hunger Games Trilogy – or not…

    • go on, you need a break i’m sure. I want to read the Hunger games too, that and the Handmaidens Tale. But both look scary and i worry they wont have happy endings. hah. the usual problem

  5. I’m right there with you. Books are bad. BAD.

    Bad books are obviously bad, especially because I can’t just walk away. I feel compelled to finish reading every piece of garbage I start.

    But great books are the worst. Not only do I skip sleep and other necessary activities to continue the reading, but they indeed leave me shattered with emotion for weeks to follow. And they never completely leave you. How disturbing is that?

  6. Forget good books — I expect to be steamrolled by them — but bad books! Bad books keep me up forever. Bloody pissing off. What was this book, by the way? I can’t work with the tv on. But then let’s not blame it on the tv. I just can’t work. If there’s nothing else, I’ll sit and stare at the ceiling. Fascinating stuff, white ceilings.

    • Well you read better bad books than I do. The bad books I read require little or no mental effort. (e.g. Barbara Cartland). I imagine your bad books are written in the guise of being good books but good authors. That would annoy me too.

      The 2 good books I read lately, which various people have urged me to read for ages, was Little Stranger & Fingersmith both by Sarah Waters.

      Both had me up at night. Little Stranger was particularly creepy. Fingersmith had great twists and turns.

      • True. But then bad bad books stay with me too. For example, this month there’s a Mills & Boon in which the hero isn’t all macho and omni-wonderful. He has an accident that leaves him stupider and its irreversible, which fills him with much doubt about whether he can ever be a good lover, husband, father and what not. He manages but I’ve been thinking a lot about how unusual and almost bold it is for the writer to come up with a Mills & Boon in which the flaws in the hero are real flaws and the heroine is perfect.

        See, this is why I will amount to nothing. Who bothers to look for subtext in an effing Mills & Boon? Sigh.

        • Oh god why? Thats even worse. If she wants to write realistic shit she shouldn’t be writing for Mills & Boons. Those books have a fixed purpose. Why muddle it with grey areas? Clearly this is a writer with confused aspirations. That kind of book I’d hurle at a wall.

      • Nice! I’ve been listening to a lot of This American Life and Radiolab. They are both fun to paint to. I don’t know Fanny Hill, but I had success with listening to the likes of Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces as well as much nerdier stuff like the books that Game of Thrones is based on.

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