Sunday 3rd February 2019
My husband and I recently attended a showing of The Wife at our village movie night. If you aren't familiar with it, it's the story of an American who has just won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature. As he travels to Stockholm with his wife and son to accept his award, his relationship with his wife and her relationship to his writing is revealed. I don't want to give the story away, but lurking in the background were the ideas that authors struggle to write and how it's almost a pitched battle getting words on the page. The movie left me thinking not so much about its plot but about writing in general, and my relationship to words.
I've never before wondered if I had the 'great American novel' simmering somewhere in the back recesses of my creativity, but after seeing this movie I found myself questioning why it never even occurred to me to attempt one. Have I just taken the easy way out and written books about subjects which I enjoy and where the words have come fairly easy? I've never sweated blood to get words on a page. In fact, sometimes my fingers can't move fast enough and the words seem to just appear. My books are written to entertain; to provide a bit of escapism. They are basically adventures with inklings of romance and comedy; the characters are tested, but there is ALWAYS a happy ending. Things have to work out for my heroes.
As a writer in my sixties, with some world experience behind me, I am discovering there are
some serious thoughts I wish to express. I'm beginning to feel the need to challenge myself and dig a bit deeper for the words; to break out into a sweat. So, Chinese New Year plan (I was born in the year of the dragon) is to continue to write books that simply make me (and hopefully my readers) enjoy a bit of an escape, and at the same time start working on my version of 'the great American novel'- it will be interesting, if perhaps only to me, to see where I land.