Actually, this is sort of another book review, but as an excuse for some extensive quoting about writing fiction. So first, let’s get the review bit out of the way. A friend lent me her copy of Knave of Spades, a memoir by Alan Titchmarsh. It is an elegant, charming and easy to read auto-biographical book covering aspects of his life from childhood to current days. It intrigued me to learn that the author had failed his 11-plus and left school at 15. I was further entranced by his journey via apprenticeship into education and the lofty world of Kew Gardens, followed in due course by writing and presenting on radio and television. An excellent easy read for anyone who likes finding out about people and what motivates them.
It’s what he says about Writing that amused me. And made me feel like getting back to the Creative Writing stage that winter heralds. He says:
Writing fiction is agony and ecstasy in equal measure, depending on how the day is going. I do not write groundbreaking literature. Neither am I of the deeply cerebral or highly esoteric school. I write what I hope are well-crafted stories that will take you out of yourself.
Just so …….. exactly what I would love to do, then he goes on to tell a wonderful story. He was attending the British Book Awards:
As prize-winning authors steppedup to collect their (awards), Jeffrey Archer leaned across to Jilly Cooper and whispered, “What wouldn’t we give for one of those?”. Jilly whispered back, “And what wouldn’t thy give for sales like ours?”
And I love the way he speaks about his potential readers:
It is the hope of every novelist that their work will be taken up and discovered to be “unputdownable”, wherever the reader may be. I do not care whether my novels are bought in hardback or paperback, taken out of the library or snapped up for 50p from a charity shop. They can be read on the bus or the train, in a book-lined study or on a lilo, by butcher, baker, computer-maker or housewife. They can be denounced as of little consequence and ignored by the classier literary supplements. It matters not. Provided that they can give the reader a day or two of escapism, and a fraction of the pleasure that they give me to write, I ask no more.
Brilliant. And after all, I do write the blog……….. and autumn is coming…..time to write!