Friday, July 6, 2012

Overcoming reader's block

I'm a mood reader. Recently having several phases of reader's block. I don't know how I'd cure it. Fully at least. One treatment is to go back to those old books that I've once categorized as highly content, personally inspirational, touching, meaningful, entertaining.
I don't know if they have much in common. Some of them have well-thought plots, off the beaten path language often with that poetic "sing", which tells about the atmosphere, humanity, writer's desire to write, finding in a natural way the inner vulnerability of the individual in place. The no-super hero human being whose skin you can crawl into.
Often my favourite tone is somehow melancholic, maybe having slight quiet sadness, still not necessarily having the story ending unhappily. I love ambitiously written survival stories. Or the ones that end up with the protagonist having inner peace, some kind of harmony.
The most important books for me have a strong touch and taste of life. Some of the books that have brought back my trust in the power of literature have been from my country of origin, Finland: The Home of the Dark Butterflies (Tummien perhosten koti) by Leena Lander, To Steal Her Love (Harjunpää ja rakkauden nälkä) by recently deceased Matti (Yrjänä) Joensuu,  Two Cities (Kaksi kaupunkia) by Harri Sirola,  Train to San Pellegrino (Juna San Pellegrinoon) by Jukka Pakkanen.
I've had similar feelings when reading certain works from authors like Raymond Carver, Anton Chekhov, Kahlil Gibran. And watching movies, which add more to it with the whole atmosphere: pictures and well-selected soundtracks.
If I went to list the films that have had the same affect on me, I'd have to mention two of my favourite Italian films: Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe Tornatore and Mediterraneo (by Gabriele Salvatores).
Some of the more rough ones would include Seven Pounds (by Gabriele Muccino), Dead Mans Shoes by Shane Meadows, Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa, Four Friends by Arthur Penn and City of Hope by John Sayles among others.
I sometimes go back to read the full books or certain pages that have that strong emotional affect on me.
The first chapters of Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren. The pages where the big brother dies when jumping from the window to escape the fire with the little brother on his back. To save him (true brother Lionheart). Meeting again after passing to the other side, Nangijala.
It's not about that moment only. Some of the highlights in literature live in my mind again and again. But I want to find new, earthshaking reading experiences. That would make me read the whole pile of books of some amazing author new to me.
I don't know why I recently haven't found anything totally touching and new. I've browsed piles of books I've taken from the library shelves trying to make a connection to some new, touching, intelligent authors who have "that something" in the story, language and tone. Apart from some excerpts from Paul Auster and Tobias Wolff, and some new names to me such as Haruki MurakamiI haven't found anything that would have blown me away. Therefore I seem to go back to the old ones, to browse those Raymond Carver prose poems that have touched me so deeply all these years.
But I want new ones. Probably with YOUR help. If something moved you or blew you away, let me know.

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