The American romance writer, Anita Shreve was born the same year as myself. She died last year of Cancer after a ‘long battle’, as it is often somewhat euphemistically described. It is a battle our besieged bodies fight within us, our conscious selves have few weapons other than attitude and perhaps diet.
We both began writing at a very young age but it took me a lifetime to approach my writing seriously, to focus. She however, published the first of her prolific catalog of work in 1975. Possibly the most well-known of which, The Pilots Wife was made into a film.
In an interview she gave in the Guardian in 2008 she called writing ‘a solitary pursuit’. In this she echoed my own observation and it seems to me by definition, this goes hand in hand with a certain loneliness. However, it is a loneliness which somehow gives rise to inspiration and thus becomes a necessary part of the creative character. It was at first, she said, ‘ something to be kept secret’.
I saw myself scribbling away, twelve years old, immersed in a world of characters I preferred to real people. That these stories were to be kept other than secret never once occurred to me then.
The well-spring is very private.
This being the case, publishing lays one bare to hurtful disregard for our carefully expressed thoughts.
Later it became a way to express emotions I had no idea what to do with.
If someone were to ask me to give one reason why I write, realizing that what I write is of little interest to most people, I could do no better than to quote the above.
Finally, it morphed into its present incarnation; daydreaming with a lot of craft brought to bear on what makes it to the page.
I am working hard on the craft, the daydreaming comes naturally.
All above quotes by Anita Shreve.