Is Beautiful Writing Guilty of Wasting Our Time?

Image via Burst

I’ve been on a science fiction kick lately, listening to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Hyperion, and Ready Player One.  It’s been really fun.

I have a confession to make –  I gave up on Hyperion, not because it was lame, but because the road was long.  I have a 45 minute commute and frequently listen to audio books.  Hyperion was on a must-read sci-fi list so I snatched it up from my local library.  The case containing the CDs was about the size of a cinder block, housing 18 discs.  I slid in the first CD and was instantly seduced.  Dan Simmons slides up and down the English language like a concert pianist.  There was a scene when the main players assembled and he described their garb so elegantly I wanted to cry.  The man is a maestro!  Who knew cuff links and poofy sleeves could be so beautiful?

Why Did I Give Up?

I didn’t even finish the first disc.  I panicked.  Dan Simmons is in good company:  This happened to me during Moby Dick too.  The beautiful high seas were described at length.  Page after page.  Like a sea-sick voyager, I couldn’t stomach it.  I have to get on with my life!  Maybe I’m a victim of society?  Is instant gratification to blame for my inability to sit still and read something beautiful?  I don’t know.  Inspired by a WellsBaum post about Book Guilt, I tossed the Hyperion CD back into its cinder block.

Wrong or right, my life moves at light speed and I don’t want to spend 18 CDs in the depths of outer space or bobbing up and down in the waves chasing a whale simply because it’s beautiful.

It’s Discouraging

As an aspiring writer, I wonder, “What can I possibly produce that will capture a reader’s attention?”  This is the million dollar question.  Heck, if you’re new, earning milk money would be euphoric!  What can I say that’s worth listening to?  If Melville and Simmons get ejected out of my car, what can I do to avoid that fate?

Do You Have Time for Beautiful Writing?

I’m eager to hear your thoughts in the comments below!