Thursday, May 12, 2011

What You Don't Know

Just a short entry tonight, to say that I went to a group dinner as part of the local arts festival; it was touted as a book lover's thing, and the author present was a New Zealand woman by the name of Jenny Pattrick. I must confess that I have heard of her and her first novel -- The Denniston Rose -- but I have never read anything she's written. Oops. But she was lovely to listen to, and the food was good; I mean, it was my favourite restaurant anyway, but still...!

There were good and bad things about the evening, mind you. The truly bad thing was that I ate far too much dessert and had to come home and spend forty minutes on the stationary bike to make up for it, but the good outweighs that sort of marlarkey. I had a good long chat with one of my tablemates, a woman about my age who teaches English at the high school I went to, and then something Jenny said struck me. A good few years back she'd been at a writing workshop or somesuch with Annie Proulx, and she had said something along the lines of "Most people will tell you to write what you know. I say -- write what you don't know."

The theory behind this, I believe, is about learning and research and enriching your own experience. I was charmed by this, if only because I've terrified myself in relation to Greywater over the last few days. This is because I realised that I need to know a lot more about military bits and pieces than I do, and the idea of it is daunting.'s all part of the process, isn't it? And I'm not a research-oriented person -- I like to make stuff up -- but even I realise that what I "make up" comes from my life experience, whether it's something I've read or something I've done. It's why I love to travel, after all.

Otherwise, the other thing I took away from the evening was a yearning to one day get the Katherine Mansfield grant. I want to live in the South of France for a year and write. Bit of a lofty goal there -- and pretty much downright impossible -- but oh, well, a girl can dream.

But in the meantime...the girl's gotta write. <3

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