I've been bugging my critique group to read something by Jodi Picoult. True, her genre is nothing like any of ours, but when I read Jodi it just makes me want to be a better writer. I'm telling you, the woman does things with words that boggle my mind. It's almost like reading poetry, where you train your mind to see things differently, come up with new ways to describe something that's been described a million times by writers throughout time. I've tried to explain what it is she writes, but I just can't seem to put it in a category. It's almost literary, but the there's a definite story there, and when you've finished, you haven't just read really good writing, you've had your brain frapped by a really twisted story. I mean twisted in a good way.
I think we all need someone to look up to. Of course, for us Christians, Jesus is the ultimate mentor. He teaches us how to behave, how to love, how to forgive, and everything else associated with living as God's forgiven. But we need earthly mentors as well. Now Jodi will never know my name, but she teaches me a great deal. First of all, no matter how interesting the plot, it comes down to character. It's all about people. She says she writes about family. The families get into some pretty interesting situations, but it still comes back to how we relate to one another. I think that's why I keep coming back to her. It doesn't matter what genre I write, I need to tell it with a fresh voice, describe things in a way that make the reader say, "Yeah, that's the way it is," though they've probably never consciously thought it that way until they read my book.
So much for my Jodi plug. I can't possibly dream of reaching her level, but knowing that such a level exists will keep me pumping the creative muscles, no matter how successful I become. It's not the goal, it's the journey that makes us strong.
By the way, my top picks for Jodi Picoult are: My Sister's Keeper, Second Glance, and The Pact.