Not Working, by Lisa Owens

not workingThe subject of Lisa Owen’s book appealed to me.
Claire leaves her job of six years, hoping/expecting the newfound time and freedom will create the opportunity to find her “purpose” in life.

I understand.
It’s the kind of thought I’ve often had.
It’s the kind of idea I’ve acted on more than once; firstly when I ceased fulltime work to study, then several years later when I left my job and home in the city to start again in country New South Wales.
In neither case did my desired outcome ultimately lead to anything different, but both times it seemed like it was necessary to at least try to break out from the rut I’d worn for myself, if I wanted to find a better path in life.

Therefore, as soon as I heard about Not Working I wanted to read it.

Apart from the appeal of the story itself, I really like the structure of the book. Each chapter is subdivided under headings identifying locations, events and times. The text within those subdivisions can be  gems of “wisdom”, Claire’s personal observations, or part of the ongoing narrative of her quest for purpose.

Lists Each section adds to our unfolding understanding of Claire and her situation, with varying degrees of subtlety sometimes with pathos other times with humour; sometimes with clarity and other times more cryptically.

It’s the kind of approach I could see myself using – IF in some other reality I’d actually taken the literary path I’d wanted. If I’d disciplined myself to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, on a regular basis without the pressured incentive of deadlines and university demands.

karmaBut maybe there’s still hope.

I now see a way to use disparate ideas, isolated thoughts that of themselves have promise but aren’t amenable to stretching into a more extensive story.
Maybe they can be used without expansion, a scattering of them throughout a larger narrative, helping to pause the story flow: but not without significance. Each one in some way adding to the story, revealing more about its characters and their relationships,  and not merely serving as padding.

availabilityA larger story created out of shorter, seemingly incomplete, isolated incidents that over time the reader can piece together as common elements start to coalesce.

I may seem to have digressed from the book itself, but in fact the book has helped me return to the main reasons for creating this blog: encouraging me to read (and finish) more books and to reinvigorate my long-time neglected ambition/desire to be a writer.
Not Working is the type of book I genuinely enjoy to read. The kind I can’t wait get back to. It’s a book with an engaging story that re-stirs my desire to write, written in a way that presents some practical and interesting story writing possibilities.

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