On being a writer...

A celebration of the writing process, of being a writer, of all the weird things that pass through a writing brain...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Hope and fiction

I've just read this quote from Vaclav Havel, playwright and former president of Czech Republic: Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. At the moment that seems a bit of a leap of faith for the inhabitants of Japan or Libya, but it perfectly sums up the process of writing a novel - or I suspect any creative work.

My fingers are literally poised over the keyboard, ready to start a new book. I have my usual endless lists of books that need consulting, notes about character, potential for plot. I am at the very beginning and there are, as always billions of possibilities. There will be false starts a-plenty. But there is also a conviction that from this chaos some kind of a narrative will emerge. Its sense will come from everything that happens in the next eighteen months, both in the wide world as it flickers across my screens and in the books and papers I read, the experiences I have, my relationships and the stories told to me about their lives by those I meet or who are close to me, the weather, the world, the feelings I have and even the garden I tend. They are all part of the brew, which is why I absolutely cannot see the book ahead of me now. I can only believe that one will be written, and that it will make sense.

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