Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Wisdom from Anne Enright
“I think over the years you realise that your emotions about your work don’t have an awful lot to do with it. They are part of the process, obviously. But you finish the work and it’s shite, and then everybody loves it. Or you think it’s wonderful, and it’s completely ignored. So you learn after a while that whatever you think about the work is a bit like a nervous tic or a spasm of some description, and the work doesn’t care. It’s just sitting there on the page. People will read it whatever way they read it. You have to let that happen.”
I think Anne Enright is a wonderful writer and she comes across as a very down to earth, no bullshit type of person. This quote, which I lifted from last Sunday’s interview in the Sunday Tribune, reconfirms this. I spend a silly amount of time worrying about my work, whether it’s good or bad, if I’m delusional, if I’ll ever be ‘successful’ as a writer (whatever that means). I have had this experience she mentions: the few stories and poems of mine that I am really fond of, no one else ever seems to get them; they are never mentioned to me one way or another. The ones I dislike because they are too light/twee/silly, or seem unfinished/wrong, are the ones I get the most praise for.
I read a very ill-considered review of a friend’s new book and it made me feel annoyed. I don’t think he’s that upset by it, but it upsets me that someone can toss off a few careless, wrong-headed remarks about work that has taken years. My friend’s perspective is probably better than mine. The review is that reviewers opinion. No more, no less. If the work is good, and you know it is good, then that is all that counts.