I’ve not been writing much this week, mainly because my house has been in disarray due to the clearing out of rooms and the laying of carpet. But in between shifting heavy boxes and bagging up books I’ve been reading. Reading is of course a great escape from the world around us but for me as a writer, reading often proves my greatest inspiration. I guess I’m always looking for the writer who makes me think, I wish I’d written that; who makes me wonder, how did she do that? Why is he so good? And when I discover someone I haven’t read before who makes me ask these questions it’s always a source of inspiration.
This week it’s the Australian writer Tim Winton – yes I knew of him but I’d not read him – in particular his novels Dirt Music and Cloud Street.
Cloud Street opens: ‘Will you look at us by the river! The whole restless mob of us on spread blankets in the dreamy briny sunshine skylarking and chiacking about for one day, one clear, clean sweet day in a good world in the midst of our living.’ A bravura opening if ever I read one. I love what Winton does with language, mixing it up, sometimes inventing words, making it fresh. His prose is muscular- great verbs, but its lyrical too. He’s not afraid of omitting punctuation and letting the sense of the words just roll on. He doesn’t shy away from the romance of a place or of the people in it or of describing them to us. His evocation of place and person is masterful. He writes in Technicolor with a booming sound track.
So how did this inspire me? How should the best writers, the writers we admire inspire us?