I like books, and stories, that shock me. Books where you reach the end and feel thoroughly shaken with the thoughts of “What the hell did I just read?” It’s not the shock value itself that is valuable here. Rather it is the reasons why something was shocking. I have a lot of respect for people who realise that art (literature included) isn’t just art. Art doesn’t have to just be entertainment. Stories are more powerful than that. Often more powerful than we realise or even intend for them to be. After all, if books do indeed belong to their readers, then we can never truly predict how our words will resonate with those who read them. Any book can influence, and inspire, and bring people to a greater understanding of the world in which we live. And so I like writers who attempt to harness this power that they hold. Writers who attempt to use their words reveal truths, in Orwell’s case, truths that we would often prefer not to be aware of.
What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.