writing for the heart

I haven't read much lately. I could tell you that it's just too hot, but the truth is, I haven't found anything that I really want to read, despite all the beautiful books I know are out there. Maybe I've been too scared to take a risk on a new author, as I've been so disappointed by random library selections lately. Instead, I've been dipping in and out of old favourites ... last night, it was the good bits from The Scarlet Pimpernel (for example, their conversation on the stairs at night) ... and thinking what I really need is a great big commonplace book of all my best beloved excerpts, a compendium of heart-warming, breath-catching moments from favourite tales.




One of the reasons I write is because I can (albeit imperfectly) create the sort of stories I myself want to read. The problem with this of course is that I seldom go back and read them again. A few I can ... lately, Wintering, Aftermark, A Toss of Dreams ... but usually I am too fearful of finding errors. But the process of writing itself is like reading, only on a deeper level. Writing shows me not only the words of the story but its spirit too. I get to learn all the characters' untold secrets; all the back stories. I know where Richard went,  those lonely years. I know why Nettle was sad. I love reading, so I became a writer, in order that I may read the stories in my heart so thoroughly, so intensely, that they turn into words on a page. 




If you asked me what my favourite stories are, I should most honestly point you to my own books ... which of course in reality I would never do, because it would seem horribly arrogant. But I don't mean that the books themselves are my favourites! I mean that the dreams beneath them, the unread novels whose reviews were enough for me, the fragments of old precious novels never forgotten, the visions inspired by books which were otherwise dull to read, stories told to me, the beautiful moments in certain movies, one character from an awful book, a word in the middle of a badly-written poem, all the influences that informed my own books - these are my favourite stories. And so in a way I guess my own books are my commonplace journals, my gathering of loves, my long prayers for what I wish I could write myself.


Art by Arthur Rackham.


6 comments:

  1. You put words to things I too feel, but didn't quite know it. I also feel I carry dreams in my heart, that needs to be written down, because it's started to get to heavy to have them inside of me, unspoken.

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    1. Yes, the heaviness becomes unweildy and painful after a while, doesn't it? :-)

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  2. I just wonder whether you've read "The River Wife" by heather Rose? Tasmanian author so a difficult book to buy here in UK, but a lovely book. You might like it :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I managed to get hold of it straight away and have begun reading. I do like it, very much :-)

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  3. If I read a passage in a book that speaks to my heart I copy it out so that I always know where to find it when I need inspiration or to remember which book it came from so I can read the book again. I am trying to explore reading different sorts of books than what I read normally - it has been an eye opener for me and on the whole a very enjoyable exercise.

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    1. Ah, wise woman. I have no discipline for keeping a commonplace diary, but I really wish I did. And I have little courage for reading new genres. I used to be better at it when I was younger.

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