Wednesday, October 15, 2014

more on writing

Whoever crossed my path in the last month has heard the same speculative comment from me about how it is that authors can ever write, given that, as David Gordon recently said (here), the mere mention of a character trait in a book invites speculation on the part of the reader that you, the author, were actually writing about (and criticizing) said reader.

And so I pick up with interest a comment by the recent recipient of the Man Booker Prize. Flanagan said yesterday -- “I only realized after [my father] died what an extraordinary gift that was. ["That" refers to the trust his dad had in him to write as he wanted to write.]  As a novelist, you have to be free. Books can’t be an act of filial duty.”

I suppose many writers set to their task because they have felt, in life, deprived of a forum. Finally, an audience, no matter how small, to listen to and surely acknowledge the grievance they've felt! And that's a fine reason to write, I suppose. But there are others and I surely belong to the category of others.

Perhaps closing myself off (as I have, see previous post) is a way for me to lessen the risk of loss. Unlike Gordon, I shan't care if someone defriends me on FaceBook because of something I've written. And I know already that writing for a public forum, no matter how bland your story, causes some to back away. I know this from writing Ocean. I started this blog with the premises that I don't want to offend and I learned quickly that my marker of what is offensive may not be the same as that of another person. Ed used to ask -- when you retire, will you finally write honestly? The dean wont be able to scold you anymore! (To clarify: the dean never scolded me, but others have!)

My answer, of course, is that I do write honestly. Remarkably so. But I side step trouble because, in fact, that's how I live. Run away from trouble? That's me!

Book writing, however, is different. I am invested in Ocean, but I am perhaps even more invested in my book project. There, I tread less carefully. The story cannot flow without that sense of freedom that Flanagan talks of. At least not that story!

In other news -- if the skies parted some this morning, I didn't see it. It is wet and drizzly and breakfast is again in the kitchen.


Ed pokes at me mercilessly for casting the final vote on Oreo's future. His tease is his way of transitioning to a time without Oreo, but still, I surely will be relieved when whatever is to happen to the old rooster in his next life happens soon, so that we are both not so tortured by the specter of it. (The chicken mama never quite comes when she says she will so we are still waiting.)

(still blooming)

 Late in the afternoon, we go to Farm & Fleet to buy more chicken feed. We are surely invested in the chicken project, even as there will be a shift in our brood soon.


Still later, toward evening, we go bowling. This is a sign of late Fall. Too cold for tennis. Or for biking. Too warm for snow and skiing. I am a terrible bowler (no one to my knowledge bowls in Poland), but I love active games that Ed and I do together and over time, I will get better!

Who says I'm not a cup half full person?!

(still blooming)