Too Close to the Heart

Why is it so hard to write well about the books and poetry I like best? Recently I wrote a review for With a Sword in My Hand, a marvellous historical tale with a truly feisty heroine and loads of medieval weaponry. What more could I ask – and the book won a swag of awards – so it’s very well-written too. My first review was not. It was so bad the Editor at The Reading Stack sent it back saying “I thought you really liked this book.” So I started again and even then, the end result is not one of my better reviews.

I can see a pattern here. I remember my HSC English Exam. I was expected to get full marks. A student the year before, who like me had the same teacher the previous three years, had fallen one mark short of the perfect score. But I chose to write an essay about why I liked the poetry of John Donne. Half way through I realised my mistake. Even then I could not write well about what I loved. I loved it because it sang to my heart and I couldn’t convert that into carefully word paragraphs arguing its merits. I did well but no gold medal.

When I began to write I chose the fantasy genre. These books have long been my first love as a reader and I desperately wanted to write them too. But I couldn’t. I liked them too much. It wasn’t until I turned to my fascination with ancient history and began Samurai Kids that I found my writing centre.

But I haven’t given up. I still write book reviews. I’m working on two fantasy manuscripts. And one day I’m going back to Uni to study children’s literature. Sure to be lots of books and writing I love there.

I still don’t understand why it is so hard to write about the books and poetry I feel most passionate about. Does anyone else have this problem?

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