As much as I love travelling, there is one thing that home is good for... it is efficiently writing. As much as I write everywhere, all the time, when it comes to get things ordered, mastered, edited and full-time invested, Paris and my flat is the place for me. Despite the noise and hectic-ness.
And writing is an activity that implies reading, re-reading, proofreading but also simply reading others.... Reading and loving it passionately.
Luckily, this month, I'm spending a glorious time with The God Of Small Things, published in 1997 by Arundhati Roy, thanks to my dear friend Amy whom I visited in London last month.
It is a compelling story set in India, involving a whole family and especially two twin brother and sister, Estha and Rahel, too soon separated by life, and unable to live a fulfilled life without the other...
..."He couldn't be expected to understand that. That the emptiness in one twin was only a version of the quietness in the other. That the two things fitted together. Like stacked spoons. Like familiar lovers' bodies".
2017, yet, has been a difficult year for writing.
First, there is the international political (disastrous) context, impacting me, as always, and my work (as a journalist).
Second, writers' worst enemy, I learnt cruelly, is not laziness or distraction, or the 'white page' fear. It is the publisher. Most of them have turnt into socks sellers, or maybe have they always been. Most stories with depth are stopped even before they reach the stage of a draft because publishers discourage writers to be ambitious, daring, to renew themselves and their writing.
I was lucky enough to find a wonderfully indulgent protection in my first experience in publishing, thanks to Editions Anne Carrière and my friend Bertrand Dicale. My editor has been incredibly helpful.
But since then, so many projects have been killed in the way. And, just like in 2013/14 when I was looking for publishers to get interest in my novel, judgement, nepotism and discouragement.
Now I never thought I'd face this again so violently. Apparently, the most important person involved in making a book exist is not the writer or the person inspiring the book, it is the one paying the bill to get it out. They have the right to criticise your writing even before they read your manuscript! To suggest to shorten it or change the title, and to correct your research with their (wrong) suggestions...
Now why do I still want to write in this world where everyone is too busy to leave their phone for more than a few minutes? Video, sound, online streaming are everywhere in the western World. Who needs a book? And even if some needed, there are so many products on the tables now. Publishers are releasing so many items, looking for the bestseller or simply to fill in the void and renew their offer, than even the reader keen to look for a good book might struggle to find it.
I don't think I can answer to my own question in this post. Too tired. And too busy still dreaming of my next book! You cannot take the passion out of a naturally passionate person. And I won't really try to apologise for that.
Maybe, it is about looking for the "small things" that really matter. Peace, joy, friendship, poetry in the prose and the right, simple words. The story of everyday people who managed to build and create some things really, truly great, magical, powerful and inspirational. The story of people going through life to come back changed and to learn the most important values, to grow and help themselves understand who they are and what is the meaning behind this senseless world.
But what do I know?
You should maybe ask a publisher instead. They'll tell you what a story really is: some suspens, a good construction that can keep the busy reader long enough for them to buy another product.
Or you can choose your own reason. And feel free to share it.