I often wonder if my friends here see me as a sociable loner. Most post-The Big Freeze comments tend to focus on the stir-crazy nature of being inside all day, forcing us to self-entertain. "There's only so many reruns of Friends that you can watch," one friend said last week. Am I weird because I enjoyed it? I liked being stuck inside, not feeling guilty for staying in with a book rather than going out into the (very cold) world and shopping, consuming, scaling mountains, going for beers, etc. I liked that I could catch up on friends' blogs, read two-month-old magazines, watch Season 4 of The Wire, and cook up big pots of chili to last days. In the entrapment of a foot of snow, I found freedom.
I'm midway through The Forest for the Trees, where I found the above quotation. Lerner's years of editing and agenting have made her a sensitive observer of the craft, and her insights are both calming and encouraging. Writers are desperate to connect, though have always connected better through words on a page. We're the children with our noses in a book at the age of 4; we're the teenagers furiously scribbling in a tattered journal after an argument; we're the adults who will finish a book that resonates and immediately read it again to figure out how the author made us feel that way. And we spend hours re-reading our own work, obsessing over how minute details will be perceived by readers, wondering if it's good enough. Wondering if we're good enough.