Books are life rafts. I climb into them to keep moving forward when life seems in limbo and my energy is fully depleted. Here is a sampling of those I return to repeatedly.
I return to this quote to address my subject of research and remind myself why:
A cheap Saturday night took you down. You died stupidly and harshly and without the means to hold your own life dear.
Your run to safety was a brief reprieve. You brought me into hiding as your good-luck charm. I failed you as a talisman– so I stand now as your witness.
Your death defines my life. I want to find the love we never had and explicate it in your name.
I want to take your secrets public. I want to burn down the distance between us.
I want to give you breath.
– James Ellroy, My Dark Places
I return to this quote to trust and let go of attachment to outcome:
As I’ve said, falling for a suspect is a lot like the first surge of blind love in a relationship. Focus narrows to a single face. The world and its practical sounds are a wan soundtrack to the powerful silent biopic you’re editing in your mind at all times. No amount of information on the object of your obsession is enough. You crave more. Always more…
The feast of data means there are more circumstances to bend and connect. You’re tempted to build your villain with the abundance of pieces. It’s understandable. We’re pattern seekers, all of us. We glimpse the rough outline of what we seek and we get snagged on it, sometimes remaining stuck when we could get free and move on.
– Michelle McNamara, I’ll be gone in the dark- one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State killer
I return to this quote as a goal:
Writing a book is a strange job.
“Here you go,” a publisher says at the outset, handing you a salary of sorts, and a deadline, “we’ll see you in two years.” And there you go indeed, in a state of high alarm, without any day-to-day ballast– no appointments, no tasks assigned each morning, no office colleagues to act as sounding boards, no clue as to what you are doing” equipped solely with a single idea, which you cling to like driftwood in a great, dark sea.”
– Patricia Pearson, When she was bad: how and why women get away with murder