Archive for March, 2014

And the Reason I’m Doing This Is…

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

I'm not going to write and you can't make me.

I’m not going to write and you can’t make me.

I was recently very chuffed to learn that two of my stories had been picked up by New Zealand’s North & South Magazine as part their short, short story contest (less than 300 words) – one as a runner-up and the other as “highly commended”.  It was a totally encouraging boost.  But it also made me realize that I’m not used to people reading my work (apart from a select few and even then, in a very limited way which I control).  Of course, I’m not talking hordes gobbling up the magazine to get at my 600 words of prose, but still any increase from one or two readers is enormous.  This then brought me back to the age old question of why do writers write.  Some say that it’s a “necessity”, that they have “no choice”.  Well, I have a choice.  And there are times it’s a real struggle between writing and eating chips and watching Homeland (or, more likely, curling up with my e-reader).  And clearly I’m not choosing writing because of my readership relentlessly demanding more, so why do it?  Well, it is a lovely feeling when it’s going well, and while it’s not a necessity, I do feel a bit of a compulsion to tell a particular story in my particular way, and an audience, if it ever materializes, is nice, but at the end of the day, buggered if I really know.  Maybe I’ll watch another episode of Homeland

Bittersweet

Friday, March 7th, 2014

snoopy-freelance-writerMy book club recently read Stoner by John Williams.  It garnered quite the divided views.  Some, including me, thinking it was a beautifully written depiction of a disappointing, sad life.  Others finding the main character too passive, his life too pointless (mainly due to a lack of depth in his relationships) to bother writing about.  But that’s not what I want to blog about.  What I want to blog about is the fact that the novel was written in 1965, fell out of print a year later, and is now a bestseller.  It was named Waterstones’ 2013 Book of the Year, no less.  How did this happen?  As far as I can tell, it’s because a relatively well-known French novelist (Anna Galvalda) decided to translate it and sales in France took off.  This led the English to pay attention and the likes of Ian MacEwen and Nick Hornby professed to have always loved it.  Then, sigh, Tom Hanks piped up and the New York Times re-reviewed it (48 years after the original review).  Now Williams’ wife is sitting pretty on the royalties because poor Williams himself died in 1994, which for my taste suits the spirit of the novel a little too well.