Sunday, April 30, 2023

What I want to say

There is nothing like being far from home to clear your head and to enable you to really relax.

I can sit around in the daytime and read books that Cece recommends (novels for 10 and 11 year olds) or watch medical soaps with minimal guilt ( i.e. Grey’s Anatomy) or just sit in the sun and dream. 

Being far away from my real life and all its tasks and responsibilities feels like a genuine holiday. I get the space to think about things, such as the future.

People often ask me if I will write any more books and I say, sometimes with hesitation, “No. I’m a painter now.” Wendy asked me this on Friday and I talked around the subject for a while and ended up saying “no” again. Finding a publisher is just too hard, and self publishing is murder and you end up with very few people reading what you have written because of the lack of publicity and marketing. And your book does not appear in bookshops up and down the land.

Wendy said that when I said “self-publishing” I had a look of extreme distaste on my face, but when I talked about painting I smiled. She also asked me why I couldn’t just write because I enjoyed writing. Dave has often said “Why do you care if people read what you’ve written? I don’t care that no one hears me play the guitar?”

Later I realised why I care about people reading my stuff. When I started writing it was because I wanted to say “This is what life is like for me. Is it like this for you, too?” I wanted to communicate, to share my point of view. I didn’t want to write just for the fun of it.

Some kinds of writing ARE huge fun: it was incredibly enjoyable writing Plotting for Beginners with Jane. And it was fun writing my pieces for the Times and sending them off and getting an almost instant reply saying they’d publish the piece, and then seeing it in the paper the following Saturday. The money from The Times was good money, but the satisfaction was never about the money.

The money just shows that what you produce is worth something to someone else, just like the money from selling a painting is some kind of validation. But the real reason I don’t think I will write again is because I don’t have anything new to say. I’ve pretty much expressed what it’s like to be me, and if there is anything I have missed I can put it on the blog. But you see that’s why writing the blog is so hard these days - because I think I have said most of what I’ve got to say.

You know what it’s like living with Dave, and how it feels to have grandchildren 5,000 miles away, and to live up a lane. You know my political views. You know the main issues that I wrestle with. There are various personal things I would not want to talk about on the blog, and I can’t see that ever changing.

Why do I paint? I love colour. I love line. 

When I started painting it was for fun. It is still for fun. I choose subjects because I think they are beautiful and/or interesting. And I guess I want to say “Look at this! Isn’t it lovely? Aren’t grasses wonderful? Don’t you love blue skies and daisies? Don’t patchwork quilts make interesting shapes and shadows and lines and shades?” 

And don’t you love to see washing blowing in the wind?

And for the record - I think the idea of a monarchy in 2023 is utterly ridiculous, let alone swearing allegiance to one.


Anonymous said...

Just like to say that every time I hear a blackbird sing, it lifts my heart. If he sounds the same each spring, I’m grateful that he’s there and doing it.

Your words will always be precious to those of us who are listening. It means you’re there and still doing it!

And wonderful that you’re having a real holiday,
Thea xx

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you very much, Thea. xxx

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you so much!