Thursday, 27 March 2008

But why does it have my mother's voice?

Mainly sunny, highs plus 3

I find television very educating. Everytime someone turns one on I go into the other room and read a book.
Groucho Marx

I love Groucho. One of my favorite lines from him is about Doris Day. He said, 'I knew her before she was a virgin.'

I go through periods of watching TV - but I'm very limited in my tastes. Biography Channel and HGTV. Mostly those house buying, house selling shows. Scares Michael. He's expecting to see a for sale sign on the lawn any moment. I particularly love Location, Location, Location. have blogged about that before. Pure fantasy, of course. I lie in my bath after a day's writing, and a 4pm it comes on. I watch Phil and Kirsty zoom all around the UK looking for homes. At extortionist prices. How do you in the UK do it? How do young families do it?

But that's my comfort food. Then I read books. Right now am snowed under reading books sent to me for endorsement. They're often very good, and it's a pleasure to help other writers - and my ego, in thinking my endorsement will help in any way. But I've actually started saying no, thank you. But it's a struggle. I think it's because I don't want people to hate me and I think they will if I say no.

Happily, I've started saying no, and you know what? People survive just fine. And so do I.

Have reached the amazing point in this book, which I reach in each and every book I write, where the whole thing is crap. Not just what I'm writing, but everything I've written, every word of the current novel is horrible, worthless, banal, confusing and poorly spelled. It's the nuclear bomb of criticisms, self dropped.

But it has happened with every book so far, so part of me is relieved it's here, and I can deal with it and move on. Shovel it out of the way. I'll tell you, the first time I felt this way - back in the first book - it was devastating. I believed it. I believed it the second time too, with the second book. But eventually I've learned that maybe this voice isn't right. I have a thick head, and it takes a disconcertingly long time to learn.

It's just the huge, stinking, slimy critic, clawing its way back into the room and demanding to be at the keyboard.

I spend a day or so letting it - then come to my senses.

There are people who see the worst, tear you down, want to make you feel like crap. Those people I don't let in my life. So why would I do it to myself?

So this is the end of it. The critic has left the building - to be invited back if she can behave herself, when it comes time for the editing.

Thanks for listening to the rant. Feels better.

By the way, spoke earlier this week at the Cote St Luc library. wonderful turn out, wonderful audience.

And tonight I'll be speaking by phone with a book club in Austin, Texas. So looking forward to that.

Be well. Speak to you tomorrow.


Kay said...

And, the book club in Austin, Texas loved, loved, loved your talk. The ladies were just so impressed and thought that you were simply lovely. Thank you so much for talking with us and answering our questions. All the ladies were quizzing me as to when the library will be gettting your new book (I'm not sure but soon, hopefully!). I'm sorry that some others had to miss but I'm planning on sending out a long email to all the group members giving a synopsis of our visit with you. Again, thanks, and I'll be seeing you soon around the blogosphere.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Kay,

What a marvelous group you have - and you set a terrific tone yourself. Very warm, thoughtful, firm. I hope we'll get to meet one day. That would be a very good day indeed.

Take care and thank you for having me at your club. I loved it.


Kay said...

Thanks so much, Louise! Yes, I tell you, if you make it to Texas again, I will be there. I'm really jealous that Lesa got to meet you in Arizona, but you just come on back down here and I'll be there with bells on!

The group loved you by the way. They were so enthused when we got off the phone. You have some solid fans here in the Lone Star State.