Monday, January 4, 2010
This weekend, I started a new novel. A book about a 15 year old's experience with true love. It is a story about the one person in the world who can reach this girl, and how he changes her life forever. When I write, I find I am far more creative if I reach for inspiration from other artists. Sometimes I find that inspiration in paintings, sometimes in photographs. Other times, it is in music or poetry. For this new novel, I have been reading the love letters 19th century poet John Keats wrote to the love of his life, Fanny Brawne. Jane Campion has just made a stunning film about their romance, called Bright Star, and she writes the forward in the book. I have found, as did Ms. Campion, that Keats' passion is palpable. His love is so ardent, so rich, that one feels almost intrusive reading the letters, almost like one is eavesdropping on them. We don't get to read Fanny's responses, because her letters were destroyed, but we can figure out what her responses must have been by his addresses to her. In our world of emails and texting and twitter, I think we are losing the beauty and power of the written word. When you have a limited number of characters you can use, you can't really say all that you want to say, and certainly not in eloquent terms. Instead, it is the expediency of language which rules our current society, rather than the beauty of it. It is the beauty of language which inspires me. And the sentiments behind it. Reading Keats' letters is truly an inspiration. I think I will read Romeo and Juliet next.