Sometimes when the muse isn’t with me and wringing anything sensible from my frazzled brain is a real effort, I wonder why I’m doing this. Writing, I mean. Why do I write? Who is it for?
Jean Paul Sartre maintained that ‘Hell is other people’ and I have a certain sympathy with that sentiment, but if anyone were to ask me what form my particular hell would take, I would answer immediately, without any thought at all: Hell is having nothing to read. I would qualify this to include the inability to read.
If I couldn’t read, for whatever reason, I’d go nuts, simple as that; I may as well shoot myself. Continue reading →
Are you a carry-on-to-the-bitter-end reader, or a mid-chapter abandoner? I used to read every book I started from cover to cover, regardless of whether or not I was enjoying it, because I reckoned that I owed it to the author to finish what they’d written before I rushed to judgement. Not anymore. Continue reading →
We become better writers by reading widely, so which books have coloured our lives? Which are our favourites, which inspire us and which do we wish we had written? As we’re approaching Christmas, which books will we give and which would we like to be given? Continue reading →
Today I had intended to write a very erudite (!) piece about homage to literary classics in films. I’ve just watched ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ for the first time. I’m so glad I did….
It’s such a truly terrible piece of cinematic nonsense (just my opinion, you understand) that I needed something else to occupy me while it wound its way to the inexorable conclusion. In between bouts of Sudoku I realised the film was a reworking of the Lost World literary genre.
Fiction – is there a reason for it? A point to it? Why do we read it, or write it?
The main function of fiction has always been to entertain. Losing oneself in a good book on a rainy afternoon is an enormous pleasure but we don’t usually expect a novel to be life changing; that is not the primary reason for reading fiction. But novelists have always written about the human condition. In fact, you could say that it is one of the duties of the novelist to draw attention to the ills of society and encourage us towards change. This is why some draconian regimes condemn the writing of novels as a subversive activity, which has to be banned. These governments fear novel writers because they offer a different version of the world to the one they are keen to perpetuate.