Outline – Rachel Cusk

This year’s completed and read stack (not pictured: Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed, which I gave to my mom as a Christmas gift)

“…if there’s one thing I know it’s that writing comes out of tension, tension between what’s inside and what’s outside. Surface tension, isn’t that the phrase…”

I’m writing this review using the WordPress app on my phone, so it might come across as truncated and short and possibly full of typos.

Matthew and I both read the same book as our last book! My boyfriend lent this to me after receiving it for Christmas, and though I’ve been feeling reading fatigued and wasn’t sure I wanted to read anymore, especially anything beyond a short story collection, I didn’t know I’d read anymore. But, I wanted to get it back to him, so I decided just to read it – the last 150 pages were read at his place in a town an hour’s north of Edmonton, where I’ve decided to spend a quiet New Years in.

I finished the book while he cooked us dinner, and then when I still had more to read we sat on the couch reading together. New Years has reminded me how incredibly happy and grateful I am.

I also made this incredibly delicious chocolate tart for our dessert: 

Back to Outline. My biggest complaint was, as a series of 10 conversations, how come every character speaks with the same voice? My boyfriend called it “Aaron Sorkin dialogue”, where characters speak in ways that, realistically, such a person in such a position (like a 15 year old in a writing class) would never speak like that. The only uniqueness was in the neighbour character who mispronounced proximity as “proxility” and solitude as “solicitude”, but that didn’t happen often (or more than that, actually).

I appreciated all the unique perspectives on life that the conversations brought, how a person’s life or experience can become an outline for their own writing. It made me think of my own experience as a writer – the older I get, the harder I find it to write something that didn’t evolve from some level of truth.

My goal had been to read 25 books this month, but I only read 21 – the same as last year. I blame it on Ablutions, which took far too long to read for such a short book.

This will probably be my last year of Bookstravaganza, as I will be camping in Patagonia in December next year, and while I may be able to read, I certainly won’t have steady wifi! I feel like I’ve ended strong, and if my fellow readers carry this on, I will jump at the chance to join again in 2017. If this ends up being Bookstravaganza’s final year, I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish as a small group and that we were able to give back to our literacy community in some small way.

Books read: 21


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