When I was newly married, my lovely bride and I found this little pottery shop in the "historical" section of the town where we lived. They produced all types of stuff, but we fell in love with a very distinctive artist who produced very distinctive work (mostly bowls and vases). The pieces came in different shades of green and gray, and no two were alike. Like I said, distinctive. We bought a couple bowls for us, and we gave bowls and vases to several couples as wedding presents.
Recently, I came upon one of these bowls hidden away in a credenza, and I realized that, in this case, "distinctive" means "hideous." So I'd like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to those couples who we "honored" with such great gifts. Of course, I have to apologize publicly, because they are no longer speaking to us.
Tastes in reading change, too. When I was a teenager, I read almost exclusively science fiction. Then I segued into horror, devouring everything that Dean Koontz and Stephen King churned out (and that was a lot!). Recently, though, I tried to re-read an early Koontz book and couldn't get past page 10. Too much exposition, too much description. The words hadn't changed, but my tastes sure had.
My tastes in mystery/crime fiction also have changed. I started out reading Agatha Christie. Then, when I lived in Boston, I got turned on to Robert B. Parker. And Kellerman and Sandford and Child and Connelly and Grisham and so on. But I haven't picked up all the latest books by these great authors. Why not? I'm not sure if just need a break from their series/styles, or if my tastes are changing yet again.
Don't even get me started about my own work (although it might not be accurate to say my tastes have changed. More likely, it's my writing that's changed). Have you ever written something you thought was good, then pulled it out of a drawer years later, only to cringe at every other word? This happened with my second completed manuscript. I'd written it, but didn't really query it (I was very excited about the next thing I was working on). About a year ago, I retrieved it and gave it a quick scan. I still liked the story and the protagonist's dilemma (a lot). I still liked the characters (a lot). But the prose? Wretched (a lot).
The remedy? I opened the old manuscript in one window on my computer, and a blank document in another. Then I rewrote every single sentence from scratch. Now I like the total package.
How have your reading tastes changed? How have any other tastes changed?
(Not all tastes change. I never liked Brussels sprouts as a kid, and I still don't.)
The Malice Domestic mystery convention begins tomorrow, and I'm very excited. I can't wait to meet some of my fellow MI authors, as well as readers of this blog, as well as other mystery lovers. If you see me, please come up and say hello!
And, speaking of "tastes," if you sit at my table during Saturday morning's New Author Breakfast, you can get a taste of my homemade chocolate babka (see my post at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen today for the recipe!).