Tuesday 29 January 2019

The power of friendship

First page of a new novel
Chiselling away... page one!
Just when you thought An Author's Notebook might have died and gone to blog heaven... here I am! The reason for my absence has been book-related: I've spent January finishing my third novel. I'm nearly there (New Year's resolution - tick!) although I'm still tinkering around the edges.

I actually finished writing the book over a year ago, but have spent all this time chiselling away at it, refining sentences and teasing out themes. Most usefully, I've been addressing feedback from a small group of readers - most of them writers themselves. I've been so lucky with the people I have met through my CBC creative writing course, as well as a few supporters closer to home.

I often reflect on how our lives are influenced by the people we encounter, sometimes quite randomly - friends, teachers and mentors. At school, I owed much of my teenage development to one friend in particular. Cooped up in our boarding house, we spent years mapping out our life plan. Though she never ended up having five sons (a lucky escape, I suspect) she always inspired me to aim high. 

In adulthood, I could name many more, including my husband and mother-in-law, who have touched my life and influenced the choices I've made - whether that's politically, intellectually or simply learning to eat and exercise well. I am the sum of those relationships. 

Oddly enough, the enfant terrible turned family-man, Russell Brand, recently wrote about the 'mentors' in his life. He's someone who's taken a while to grow up, but he credits his mentors with keeping him on the right path. Referring to one, he writes, "I believe this relationship becomes a conduit for divine truth... Things that will not erode and fade, qualities I need to live the life I've moved into."

Divine truth might be over-egging it, but I hope I'll always remain open to the positive influences of others. Without them, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Equally, my new novel would be an inferior book if it weren't for the input from fellow writers and readers. Next step is to quit tinkering and send it out into the world. Someone give me a nudge, please.

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