… which I’ve just begun. Its working title is FOR THE LOVE OF LIFE.
That’s to say I’ve begun thinking about it, dreaming on it, planning it and writing a chapter or two (mostly because the writers’ group I belong to is meeting soon and I need some work to submit for their wise attention. Otherwise I’d continue the thinking and dreaming process, without writing, for longer. But these processes naturally inform each other anyway.)
I thought I had two novels ahead of me (in my imagination and in my notebooks, at least) but I find I have one. The two themes or guiding ideas I identified for two different novels have shown themselves to be opposite sides of the same theme / idea, which is a good and a bad thing. A good thing because this novel will be the richer for it. A bad thing because now I don’t know what my fourth novel’s guiding idea will be. So I must trust that in the years it takes me to write this one (two or three, I expect) another guiding idea / theme will emerge. Some days I feel confident that it will; on others I wonder.
Writer Neil Gaiman has a great blog post on this concept, in which he says, ‘You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.’ I love that. Over time, a writer comes to trust that process and to trust the ideas that come their way. As Alice Munro said in a Paris Review interview, ‘I never have a problem with finding material. I wait for it to turn up, and it always turns up.’
So I needn’t worry, then.
And here is what I would have loved to have made, this month:
It’s less the 32 canvases (that make up the large picture at the end of the gallery) but the 51 iPad drawings that line all three remaining walls which, when you walk into the gallery, fill you with the joy of the knowledge that spring is coming, and with wonder that David Hockney, who’ll be 75 this summer, is not only still working, but innovating (he taught himself to draw on an iPad) and making extraordinarily beautiful, original work. Here he is talking about the show (which closed on 9 April 2012).