Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Following Giants

Many years ago I hit a drought in my writing and couldn't seem to finish my novel in progress. It just seemed like such a big effort for such modest gains. But then I read John Updike's A Month of Sundays and remembered why I began writing in the first place -- love of language, interest in characters, and a desire to entertain.

Now some twenty-five years laters, it's still the giants in literature that keep me glued to my computer. I won't ever write with their complexity and grace but they remind me what I'm aiming for. Funny though as I get older I've shifted from the men of literature --Saul Bellow, John Updike, Philip Roth -- to the women -- Alice Hoffman, Joanna Trollope, Alice Munro.

And I've just read P.D. James and added her to my list. I've always thought of her as a thriller writer and not a role model until I read The Light House which containd sentences like this,"...the secret service, like the monarchy, in yielding up its mystique in response to public enthusiasm for greater openness, seemed to have lost some of that half-ecclesiastical patina of authority bestowed on those who dealt in esoteric mysteries."

Now I'm probably not going to write a sentence like that today but I'm going to jump into current work and try.


Sarita Leone said...

What a thought-provoking post! I love the photo, also.

Hoping your wip is going well. :)

margaret blake said...

I love the photo. I do agree about literary giants. P D James is a wonderful writer and she does write different kinds of books. I loved the television adaptation of the Adam Dalgleish novels, he is a very different kind of cop.

Her writing is wonderful. I could not emulate it if I lived to ten thousand.