How BOOKLIFE by Jeff VanderMeer helped me overcome anxiety to share more art online
As a younger writer, I know it is not my place to write a “how to write-about-anything” type of blog. There are so many valuable resources for writers already out there. With this in mind, I want to highlight a book on writing that has been so important to me in a “HEY-YOU-SHOULD-REALLY-READ-BOOKLIFE-BY-JEFF-VANDERMEER-IN-ALL-CAPITAL-LETTERS” type of post.
I’m just going to speak from the heart here, if hearts can speak, so I might ramble a little bit. I really enjoy receiving book recommendations. It’s one of the best things in the world. Period. Not to sound sappy, but there is nothing better than the…ahh, you guessed it…the gift of knowledge. My old high school chorus teacher used to tell us something along the lines of, “you can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink.” Well, one day, I discovered Jeff VanderMeer’s BOOKLIFE (Tachyon Publications) sitting on a bookshelf.
I first read Jeff VanderMeer’s writing when I read WONDERBOOK a few years back, so I knew I would be in good hands. I highlighted the living H-E-Double-Hockeysticks out of that book. This is one of those rare books on writing that gave me a new perspective on my journey in the creative arts in general. Normally, I take pictures of my favorite passages in books on my cell phone to re-read later, instead of dog-earing pages, but I’m going to be real with you. I was sitting in a Starbucks and didn’t realize how many times I was doing this while reading BOOKLIFE (I was that guy, yeahhh…), so I eventually set the phone down and just continued reading.
This book helped put my ambitions, and now that I think of it, my life, into perspective. I guess you can say I’m seeing things through new eyes. For a few years, posting anything online, whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, was truly hard for me. I didn’t know I was living with generalized anxiety, probably for most of my life. It sounds so stupid and pathetic, but I used to get terrible anxiety when I would find a spelling error, or a formatting error, in my work, and, well, it would suck. A lot. My anxiety would keep spiraling.
How does this tie into Booklife? In this book, VanderMeer discusses the concepts of a Private Booklife and the Public Booklife. I realized my anxiety prevented me from starting a Public Booklife like this. Since reading Booklife, I feel like I received the encouragement and advice I needed to start sharing more art. Seriously, go read it. I am so excited to start my Public Booklife with you, and here’s a sincere thank you to Jeff VanderMeer for writing this book.
You can read more about BOOKLIFE through Tachyon Publications at the link below, or just click on the picture.