If I don't have a big book on the go, usually a novel, it doesn't matter what I'm reading on the fringes, I feel directionless. After the disappointment of Slapstick I put the LoA Novels 1976 - 1985 aside, having decided that Vonnegut had lost his way sufficiently, post Slaughterhouse 5, to lose me as a reader. But there wasn't any obvious replacement around the house and since I still had unfinished business on my hands I somehow couldn't bring myself to seriously get on with something else.
So I've been applying myself to a couple of magazines (a NYRB and the most recent edition of Prog) and other little bits and pieces, and since I've been woefully busy attending to the Toad, work, I suppose that's been enough in a small sort of way to make me feel my brain is still alive.
But today I picked up the Vonnegut again, with a small prayer that Jailbird would prove to be readable, even if it wasn't a return to top form. I've finished the Prelude and the signs are good. That's proven to be a relief in another way. I've actually felt a bit guilty being so critical of a writer who's given me so much pleasure over the years. It felt like I was betraying him somehow.
Funny how you come to convince yourself you have some kind of relationship with those writers you imagine you become close to.