Today I’m signing copies of A Cornish Affair for some high school students. Back in March I gave a seminar on point of view. I had a great time and I hope they did too.
One of the students asked me to write down my favourite quote in the book when I signed it. I had to think long and hard about it and then for a completely different reason I went into an old journal. There on the front page - was the opening lines of a poem by Alexander Pope…
True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance,
And the words hit me again…but this time I really understood the meaning. Last week A Cornish Stranger came out in paperback and on the 7th of May Under A Cornish Sky comes out in trade paperback and I'm struggling with the research and writing of the next book, The Returning Tide. Back then I dreamt of being a novelist. I had no idea what it really entailed. I was just then learning to dance. Now with four books under my belt I'm still learning - always trying to become better at the old steps while learning new ones. I think I was meant to see this quote today. I needed to be reminded that good fiction, good art, well – good anything takes a lot of practice. I just didn’t know when I began the journal back on the 11th of July 1984 in Oxford that it would take me quite so long to learn….
We won’t comment on the disturbing purple squiggles and what that says about me or my mind at the time…but I did spent that summer working on my writing and learning a little bit about life.