Like landmarks to a treasure

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Right, that's at least 38 words today. 
Six more and I can lie down with a box of violet creams, a pint of amaretto and an oiled Liam Neeson. 

Like most literate sentient beings, I fell madly into The Secret History.  I adored its quirky characters, deft and mysterious happenings, intelligent, crisp prose and the elliptical, swooping tale which made me long to know Latin and wear dead men's coats in a freezing New England winter.

Also by the stunningly talented Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch has made my year for two reasons.

I have devoured it both on kindle and on audiobook as I have driven our ancient creaking Jeep for many hours this winter.  Through rain so hard that the wipers were a frenzied blur, and wind that walloped the old beast with a sideways, spiteful kick.

The talented David Pittu imbues the wonderful voice of James Hobart with a patina he himself would have stroked. Boris and Theo have stayed in my ear and heart for weeks afterwards.  If you haven't yet immersed yourself in this fabulous wringing mangle of a book, make it your solemn duty to do so soon.

If you regret it, I will come round and clean out the cupboard under your sink and leave flapjacks.

The second reason?  She took 10 years to write it.

Not that I will ever produce anything like that, but I take great heart from her glacial speed. And since Mary Wesley didn't crank anything out until she was 70, I reckon that's plenty of time to keep polishing and honing, singing on mountains and falling into sudden, deep ravines of self-doubt and despair.

Those kind souls still here, I am so grateful.  The short stories are undergoing a final revision and the novel is about a third completed. I went on a course run by a Very Successful Editor and had a comprehensive kick up the arse.

In the meantime, the cars swish by my writing lair, where I need a lamp on all day, spend silly numbers of hours brewing the perfect coffee and contemplating the astonishing number of shoes generated by only eight feet. And eating flapjacks.