Ignorance is bliss. Most people laugh when they say this. “Like ha ha ha if only I didn’t know how many rat droppings were in hot dogs it wouldn’t be so difficult to eat them. I guess ignorance really is bliss. Ha ha ha.”
It is also the truth. Being a home schooling mom and a writer has ruined many things for me. An example, pirates and historical romance in general. My son wanted to learn about pirates and castles when he was six. I was all excited. I love pirates and castles! So off to the library we went and gathered up a bunch of books full of pictures of life on a man of war ship (they didn’t have pirates specifically) and castles. There were cross sections, descriptions of their daily life, what they ate, and how they died.
As I read the books to my son my romantic notions of pirates, princes, knights in shining armor, and the buff stable boy all vanished never to be seen again. There was a distinct lack of personal hygiene that I require for romantic sexiness. No going back in time for me! I like toothpaste, toilet paper, and hot running water.
I have found the same issue in become a writer (yes the lack of personal hygiene has decreased the sex appeal of writers for me). But also knowing how to put together a good story has taken a lot of the enjoyment out of movies, TV, and books less- and my ranting effects my husband’s enjoyment of too.
I find that I am frequently critiquing instead of just enjoying. I rant about books that jump into ‘teen fantasy realm’ and the author didn’t take the time to make it real. I moan when a characters growth from last season is ignored in the next season, or behavior that doesn’t fit with what the writers have already created. But I won’t bore you with my mad ravings, I keep that for my hubby and close friends who happen to call me at the wrong time.
The upside of this means when I find something I really like I rave about it. It also means I’m hideously insecure in my own work because what if there is some gaping hole that I and all the people I have forced to critique my novel have missed?? ACK!
Do you find yourself wishing for a time before you knew better? Is ignorance really bliss?
Since I started writing and taking craft classes and looking at what my editor doesn’t like in my work, I cannot read a novel like I used to do. I have metamorphosed into a mini-editor of sorts. I have put down more books over the last two years than in my entire life because the writing irritated me or I couldn’t figure out whose head was talking.
But, I guess that means that when I DO read, I’m reading someone who IMO knows how to grab me and pull me into the story.
Exactly I’ve become a mini editor. And I’ve become super picky. Which on one hand is good, but it can also be frustrating.
Luckily, I can still escape into a good book – but yes, since I started writing, the standards for what is “good” are certainly higher. When something’s not working, I can’t resist trying to figure out why, so at least I can learn from the not-so-good books. I am also less tolerant of stories that take longer to get going, although maybe that’s more a function of age!
If it’s a good book I can lose myself into it, but if not it becomes a chore.
I’ve found that since many screenplays use the same 3-act formula, I can predict within minutes when the first major failure will happen (1/4 of the way into the story) and when the climax will happen (3/4 of the way). It takes the suspense out, and therefore, I rarely sit for the entire event.
It’s true movies have become more tedious to watch- I think that’s why I like foreign films- I haven;t figured out the pattern yet.
To be honest, I’ve gotten to a point where I end up forgetting most everything I’ve read when I go into something. I don’t know why, but I love being able to be surprised, even by the crappiest, most cliched twist.
That being said, I also think there’s an important difference between pulp literature and literary writing. Literary writing seems as if it really tries to capture the verisimilitude of a setting, a set of characters, a culture, or an era in time. Even the princesses have yellow teeth, the hay-stuffed beds are riddled with lice, and the knights all suffer from awful bouts of dysentery. Cool if you want some gritty reality. But then, I switch over to the fun, pulpy stuff — you know, the unreal stuff, when princesses are super-beautiful, the medieval times had the equivalent of Seely Posturpedics (did I spell that right?), and knights knew how to wipe those super-sexy booties of theirs. With pulp, I can accept that what I’m reading isn’t truthful, but that it’s untruthful to a point of fantasizing a certain type of story for me. I like that. I don’t need shit to be accurate; I need it to be fun! 🙂
I think sometimes ignorance is bliss…but I also think we can choose to be blissfully ignorant when we want to be.
Maybe I need to read only when I’m not in the middle of edits so I’m not looking for stuff. I like the idea of being blissfully ignorant when I want- I’ll work on that.
It’s certainly understandable to analyze things from a writer’s point of view. After all, it helps inform our own work. When we see these plot holes or things unexplained in TV, movies, books, it reminds us to make sure we don’t suffer from those same pitfalls.
Well, at least we can try, that is.
I hope I’m learning 🙂
I’ve definitely become a mini editor too. I can still enjoy a lot of books, but I really like it when I’m surprised. I find myself guessing what’s going to happen next, or who the killer is, and sometimes I don’t actually like being right. I used to, but now it just feels predictable–in books and television.
I also used to maintain that “What I don’t know can’t hurt me attitude” when it came to ingredients in food that I might be allergic to… *cough* Yeah, not true. 😛 When I finally double-checked those ingredients, I was depressed to find I really shouldn’t have been eating any of those things. Ignorance might be bliss, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s beneficial.
I can’t eat gluten and I definitely ‘forget’ to check labels sometimes.
I understand I want to be surprised, The Keepers Tattoo was a fun book, but I could see where the plot was going- it’s YA so I expect that- then out of know where BAM unexpected plot point- I was so excited I ran upstairs to tell my husband!