Saturday, July 25, 2009

Methinks she doth protest too much

A fellow-blogger went off into a right rant in her blog yesterday (I'll keep this anonymous to avoid being ranted at again; she has ranted at me before for saying much the same thing) about an article in an up-market UK newspaper about why authors should 'get more real'.

The article's author suggested, according to her, that book authors should leave their comfort zone and experience other parts of the UK or even go abroad, to widen their horizons. I agree, though some authors do make a very good living always writing about the same thing (eg Ian Rankin, and dare I say Kate Atkinson, after that weird book 'Behinds the scenes of the museum'). Then again, you pick up some authors and you immediately think, another middle-class story involving this or that topic. (It makes me think that it is funny how some authors get away with writing the same stuff over and over again and others don't - that does not seem fair; what is the trigger that allows this for some authors and not others?).

The blogger, however, went off into a very heavy rant - seemingly going with the head right through the wall. Had she been a Glaswegian (well, some Glaswegians, I have to be careful here) she would have nutted the guy right in the face. She suggests that there is enough different stuff, eg crime, unemployment, different cultures, right here in the UK. Yes, indeed there is, but she does not write about them - perhaps because she does not really know much about this; eg by living on a run-down, drug-ridden council estate for 6 months (who can blame her....). Also not many authors can afford to abandon part of their lives for a longer period in the name of research.

Having said that and having noted that some authors can get away with using the same formula over and over again, psychologically I find it very interesting how she reacted. Completely in at the deep end, I'd say. Psychology, and people's reactions to certain events and statements, are just so fascinating. It suggests that the article's author hit a very tender spot in the blogger...though I would not like to speculate, in public, what this/these tender spot(s) might be. (Much as a reaction in a conversation I had this afternoon about elderly car drivers with a person in that age range. Personally, I have to say, I am not that happy to be driving myself; every time I go out, especially in this huge tank from work, I worry about killing a child. Though I will probably miss having the car when I don't get it any more from the middle of September). I wish, though, that I had know about all this psychology/psychoanalytic stuff much earlier in my life; rather than getting carried away in hotheaded situations it's much more interesting to stand aside and think why a person might be reacting in a certain way).