Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something Worth Remembering

Writers have been known to remark on what hard work it is to finish a book. Successful writers sometimes comment on the difficulties of cranking out a book a year. In the press kit for her now book, A Darker Domain, no less an authority than Val McDermid lays it out:

People sometimes remark that I must work hard to produce a book a year. They look offended when I laugh. Then I explain. And they get it.

Both my grandfathers were miners. The one who only had daughters rejoiced that no child of his was going to have to spend a working life underground. Deep underground in the heat and the stink and the filth and the danger, they knew what hard work was, my grandfathers.

The next time any of us, myself included, feels the need to complain about a writer’s plight, we should stop, get on our knees, and thank whatever higher power we choose that we have the privilege, and the leisure, to be able to write.


goooooood girl said...

your blog is very fine......

Anonymous said...

Hi Dana

Great blog and very true - we do seem to gripe over nothing, half the time, don't we?

But put that down to the perfectionist in the writer. I'm finding this latest book very hard to write because I'm really sweating over making it a step forwards in terms of my craft.

I worry over every photoshoot I do in my day job, because I want to make it better than the last, even though I've been doing the job for over 20 years.

But, I do regularly sit back and think how lucky I am to be doing what I do. And my grandfather was a miner in Nottinghamshire who had his back broken in a mine accident, so I know exactly where Val's coming from.

Dana King said...

Thanks for stopping by, Zoe. I have no miners in my immediate family, but I grew up in a mill town on the edge of coal country, so I know, and know of, people who grew up with hard living. (My mother, who is 82 today, came up through The Depression, picking up the coal tha fell off of trains to heat the house.) I have been spared, but I sympathize.

Believe it or not, this post started a short discussion on Crimespace, where it was asserted that, while miners are proud folk, many people in that, or similar, lines of work are there because they didn't want to spend the extra time in school, and that everyone has choices. While I'll admit everyone has choices, some have more than others. I doubt there are 12-year-old kids in Appalachia who dream of going into the mines when they grow up.