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 →
Last week we attended a concert of classical music performed by the South East London Orchestra. We heard some stirring Mendelssohn, a very interesting piece by Fung Lam and Dvorak’s crowd pleaser, the New World Symphony. I get quite teary when listening to dramatic music like this and my husband squeezed my hand sympathetically as I dabbed my eyes. Afterwards he commented that the Dvorak had obviously gotten to me. No, I said, the tears sprang into my eyes while the orchestra was tuning up. Sadly it seems mine is a purely Pavlovian response to the ‘A’ note the musicians tune their instruments to, and little to do with the music itself, beautiful though it was. Continue reading →
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.
If my previous post didn’t help free up the creative juices, here’s a list of last lines – writing a story from the end, backwards, requires a different sort of imaginative leap, but it can be very entertaining. As before, you can delete the last line after you’ve finished. One of these last lines is the conclusion to one of the novels from the first lines list.