“The more books we read, the clearer it becomes that the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of consequence.” Cyril Connolly
This was posted in the Thresholds Facebook page… and it got me thinking.
Is the only true function of a writer to create a masterpiece? And does this ‘truth’ become harder to deny the more books we read?
How many books have I read…? Well, if you count the pulp fiction that I can devour, quite a few. But how many literary masterpieces? Not so many. I have listened to a few, which I believe to be the same as reading them, but I have noticed that the further into the master’s course the more likely I am to put aside a book that I would have once persevered with. I do read a lot of ‘free’ kindle books and I must admit if the errors are so bad that I can see them, then I click that button – ‘remove from device’. Does this mean I believe I can do better? No not really, I just think that in most cases they could have done with a damn good editor.
One story I read had a character die, only to be temporarily resurrected in the next chapter and to die again in the following chapter. Now the story was good – and no I am not going to let on who wrote it or even the plot – all the writer needed was a good editor. Some one to say:
How about doing the middle chapter as a flashback or killing the character later in the story?
But the kindle has opened the publishing world to self publication, although you still need someone who can edit. I’m lucky. Due to the dyslexia nothing goes out without being read and altered, either by support staff at the university or a member of the family (who luckily are willing to look at things during the holiday).
Just because some books are badly edited or have weak plot lines, or non-consistant characters does not make me think I can write a masterpiece. I suppose the dream is to win a big prize or award for something I have written, but the reality is that I will just be glad to be published and maybe in the future make a little money. Little being the operative word. I have no disillusions that my writing is masterpiece material, I am too chatty and can go off at tangents…
No the more books I read the more I want to write, but not that elusive masterpiece, I just want to tell a story. Whether that story is heart retching and romantic, or horror filled I don’t care, just as long as it is a story. Because I only started writing two years ago (actually the anniversary is two years on the 1st January 2013) I just see that writing has allowed me to expand my audience. before I had to tell my creation, weaving characters around plot lines as I stood, now I get to plan them out and create more complicated twists. I was asked the other day what do I want to do with the rest of my life – and my answer is this!!!
I don’t care if I am writing a blog or poem or short story or (perhaps in the future) a novel, just as long as I am writing. If a masterpiece comes along then great, but it isn’t the truth I seek… It would be more like the cherry on top of the iced cake.
One thing I do know is that every story I write is of consequence, because I have written it. The simple fact that if you put down the words, struggled with research, characters, grammar, and plot then it must ‘mean’ something. And if it doesn’t ‘mean’ anything – why are you writing it?