• Overreading

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Strategies     Comments 8 comments

    Those of you who follow us on Twitter have seen me do a lot of bitching lately about the sudden amount of required reading in my life. I know–“Oh, poor schmuck has to spend his time reading.” But it is a lot. Entries for two contests, submissions for a literary magazine, books assigned for review. I’ve been putting in over eight hours a day of it this month; each morning begins with the thought of unread manuscripts, each day ends with the thought of still-unread manuscripts, and at night I dream about them. And not in a fun nocturnal-emissiony kind of way.

    I knew full-well that with a May 1st deadline, the Texas Observer short story contest (judged by Larry McMurtry, $1,000 and publication to the winner, not that I’m here to plug my own stuff or anything except I am so deal with it no you deal with it Duhr you d-bag) would really pick up this month, but that didn’t keep me from making the ill-advised decision to accept another gig reading manuscripts for a different contest, this one for long fiction and with an April 30th read/respond deadline. Meanwhile, as always, I’m working through a(n excellent) novel for review, and have two more in the queue.

    So it’s morning, noon, and night, read read read. And at some point, late in the day, the words start blurring together like a watercolor in the rain (first person who can tell me in the comments below which TV show that line is a reference to wins a free manuscript critique.) (Why am I complaining about reading and then inviting people to send me their writing just for Googling some TV dialogue?) (I think I have a disease.) And as the day passes, I find myself getting grumpier and grumpier; in the morning I can deal with your your/you’re mistake, but by nighttime that same snafu will make me spit blood.

    Like Falstaff I am surfeit-swelled (and “so old, and so profane,” but that’s fodder for another post). You really can have too much of a good thing. I mean, I love to read. Reading has always been a major part of my life, and the fact that I now get paid to do it is about the coolest thing I can think of.

    But I’m ODing.

    Have any of you ever had a similar problem, either in your career or your home/leisure life? It’s an odd feeling, dreading the obligation to do something I so thoroughly enjoy.

    But duty calls. So if you need me for anything the rest of the day, you’ll find me on the couch wrapped up in a love/hate thing with your/you’re manuscripts.


    0 0 votes
    Article Rating
    Notify of

    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Nate St. Pierre

    I Googled that dialogue to answer the question and win the prize just so I could decline the prize so you wouldn’t have to do any more reading you didn’t want to do but when I Googled it there was only one result returned and it was from you and it linked to this very blog post which seems like some sort of paradox but I couldn’t figure out exactly how and plus I’m not totally sure I understand what the word paradox really means so I’m just gonna leave it alone but I will venture a guess that it… Read more »

    David Duhr

    It does seem like a paradox. Whatever a paradox is.

    “I’m at 1st and 1st. How can the same street intersect with itself? I must be at the nexus of the universe!”

    (It’s not Cheers, but solid guess. Nor is it Seinfeld, despite the quote above)

    (Thanks for playing)

    Michelle D Keyes

    Is it Glee?

    Michelle D Keyes

    By the way, love this post. I’m in a bit of overload myself – reviewing, writing, and reading. Things have changed in publishing and writing so much in the last few years thanks to social media. I can FIND so many cool things now – to read, to share… it’s amazing! Twitter alone has revolutionized my reading list in the last 72 hours.

    David Duhr

    It is not Glee. A valid guess, though.

    Thanks for commenting–especially while overloaded. I’ve worked through about 70% of my April work, with 33% of the month remaining. Mathematically, I’m kicking ass. Hope you can say the same.

    Michelle D Keyes

    Northern Exposure? (I really want that manuscript critique! lol)

    I’m not quite as successful with dealing with my overload – but I’m sure I’ll prevail eventually. What’s got me the worst right now is the volume of editing I’m trying to deal with – 4 short stories in various stages of revision = no new writing. lol

    David Duhr

    Northern Exposure it is. Chris in the Morning, “Like a watercolor in the rain.”

    Michelle D Keyes

    OMG – I am SO thrilled! Thanks for doing this David – it’s awesome of you to take your time to look one of my pieces over. It took my 2 hours of dedicated searching and changing my search terms but it was worth it! Fun little scavenger hunt. :)

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x