Thursday, September 27, 2012
For the record, the more I think about the bleakness and unkindness of The Casual Vacancy, the more convinced I am that I'd rather read her work than something such as Fifty Shades. I'd rather be slapped in the face with a brilliantly-written, chilling work that makes me think, rather than slog through a boring, plotless chassis of a book.
[These opinions are solely those of Jillian.]
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
- The New York Daily News got hold of a copy of J. K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy in advance of its release. They've gone ahead and called it dull, but judging from how the release of this book is a highly anticipated event, I'd imagine others will have their own opinions.
- NPR has an article on a Broadway musical-that-could-be based on Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. A Broadway musical of Rebecca? I'm in.
- The Telegraph has a lovely article compiling reflections of authors and their first jobs. It makes me feel like my beginnings, humble as they are, are in good company and not to be regretted. Among the stories: Hilary Mantel was a social worker in a geriatric hospital; Attica Locke worked in her father's law office; Joe Dunthorne was an incompetant barman.
- The Emmys were Sunday night. I was disappointed, of course, that none of the gentlemen from Sherlock (Cumberbatch, Moffat and Freeman) won anything. I suppose they have a few BAFTAs anyhow, though. There was a lot of talent in the room, I must say. And it was a big room.
- Jillian is now on Twitter. She still hasn't quite figured out how to use it. Details to come!
Monday, September 24, 2012
Allan Massie of the Daily Telegraph has an interesting blogpost this morning on Ms. Rowling, asking: how do you deal with a book by an author who has achieved such a phenomenal success as Harry Potter?
Friday, February 18, 2011
Forgive the moaning in the above paragraph, but I am sure you can relate. When a writer’s preferred tool of crafting and performing her art is mercilessly taken away, a feeling of hopelessness settles in. Last year, I had the misfortune of falling down marble stairs at work with the same computer. Result? Cracked screen, just like a car windshield, but in retrospect, it could have easily been my skull. It was taken a repair shop where it languished idle for about two and a half weeks. Never mind how expensive that venture was, it was next to impossible to overcome the feeling that my hands had suddenly been cut off, and I could not write. Period. I dread returning to that state of writing paralysis again.
As I consider sending my dear friend away for another necessary respite, I cannot help but think how ludicrous the “writing paralysis” is. Yes, it is almost excruciating to be separated from the thing that has been such a vital instrument in my writing, but… I can write… because essentially writing is not about the computer. My brain works the same. My hands still work. The story is in my head, and not necessarily in its most consummate form on the hard drive, anyway. And, I must remind myself, writing via word processing machine is only a recent trend. After all the likes of the magnificent Mr. Chaucer and Mr. Shakespeare, many before and many, many after, produced manuscripts without use of a laptop, spell-check, online references and dozens of fancy fonts. Quills, hand-made ink, grossly expensive parchment and/or vellum, blotting paper, and candlelight… those were the tools. And what wonderful tools they are!
In fact, only last year (if you recall), Agatha Christie’s writing desk went on sale, no doubt for a pretty sum. I read Lucy Davies’ blog on the Telegraph website, and was intrigued some time ago by an entry devoted to those who collect the palettes of van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Mattise, etc. Anne Frank’s diary is preserved under glass. So is the Magna Carta in its various surviving versions. I wonder sometimes if I ever become noteworthy (ha! If at all, long after my demise!) would they preserve my laptop behind glass? Would it convey the same meaning as Jane Austen’s simple writing table, or would it be just another old computer with a black, dead screen? Hm…
I must remind myself that I do have these simple tools, too. Wouldn’t it be such a challenge, such an adventure to continue work on my novel as if nothing ever happened… except the change in medium? If all those others can make use of simple paper and pen, why can’t I? I already do.
So, I am beginning to toy with the idea of writing actual chapters via legal pad. While I have not yet lost the ability to write with a pen and paper, I don’t know if I’d have the patience for it. Another idea… old typewriter? That would definitely be an easier transition. But where might I find one that is both functional and semi-affordable?
A lot of things to think about. My only hope is that any crazy experiment can cause me to grow into a more versatile writer… the kind of person who can write a novel on a train or in a coffee shop, even if all I have is a napkin. After all, that’s what J.K. Rowling did – legal pads, coffee and a café after hours.
By Jove! It’s so simple, it just might work!
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