As a novelist, says Anna Burns, her job is “to show up and be present and attend. It’s a waiting process.” She “just had to wait for my characters to tell me their stories.”
(Interview by Alison Flood in The Guardian, 16 Oct ’18)
This obviously worked for Anna Burns as she has just bagged the Booker Prize with her novel Milkman.
I, however, have spent a lifetime waiting for characters to turn up and write themselves into a book but they haven’t done so yet and I’m rather starting to fear they never will. I go to bed having put out my finest stationery but masterpieces come there none. Not so much as a shopping list; not so much as a tweet. Perhaps the characters have used up all their best ideas writing other people’s books. They have no more twists.
Life can turn on a sixpence.
Ann from next door and I were chatting yesterday whilst sweeping leaves off the pavement. Ann has an uncle – we’ll call him Pat – in his mid-nineties. He’s been married for forty-seven years to his second wife. Let’s call her Jess. She’s about ten years younger than Uncle Pat, so mid-eighties. There are two sons, both abroad.
“I’m thinking of writing my dissertation about the work of David Lewis on modal realism.”
“His idea is that there are a number of possible worlds, of which this is one. That when something happens, there is another world in which that thing hasn’t happened and events follow through from that.”
“Like in the film ‘Sliding Doors’? So there’s one world where Gwyneth Paltrow ends up with the chap who played Hugh Grant’s deaf brother in ‘Four Weddings’ and one in which she doesn’t?” I say.
“John Hannah,” says ActorLaddie.
Dear Person who read over a hundred of my blog posts yesterday,
July, last year.
“So are we going to talk about the elephant in the room?” said Mrs Jolly-Colleague.
We were at Mrs Domestic-Colleague’s house for an end-of-term splurge of good food and gossip. Mrs D-C bakes-off against the best. Her head-to-head with Jill Archer is the stuff of legends and minstrels still sing ballads to her victorious Simnel cake.