You know creative genius when you see it. The authors whose words transport you so easily to other previously unknown worlds with their descriptive powers. The artist whose painting captures your eyes as you pass and keeps calling you back as you try to move on. The dancer who can hypnotise and thrill through a seemingly effortless display of balletic grace and energy. Oh to have their gifts.
On my annual trip to the Edinburgh Fringe I was fortunate enough to experience two awesome performances from singularly talented writers and performers. Justin Butcher in Scaramouche Jones unveiled his creation’s fascinating character during a fast paced and richly coloured journey through his 100 year life. I hung on to every single word so as not to miss a single twist or delight.
Bob Kingdom was Dylan Thomas for the 90 minutes of Dylan Thomas, Return Journey – amazing physical resemblance secondary to the mellifluous voice and his skilful weaving of the poet’s wonderful writing into an enactment of scenes from his latter years. I came out of the little makeshift theatre in awe of both Thomas and Kingdom.
So when Angela Jeffs asked me just recently ‘why do you write?’ I might have answered – ‘Yes, why do I? When I could never aspire to the literary heights.’
Here is my answer –
I have always enjoyed the writing aspect of any job I have had – and I’ve had many different jobs in education, research, and management. But writing fiction is something else. It’s private time, in secluded personal space, with no chattering critic on my shoulder and no fears in my mind.
A genuine version of myself is the one that writes – with some gentle humour, and hopefully a perspicacity on what goes on in the heads of my characters.
And it really is a lifelong journey – with so much scope for development of style, broadening of ideas, expansion of imagination. I feel I am only just starting and that the process will continue to energise and please me till the day I am no longer able to engage in it.
If Jones were to be asked, then she would say –
I’ve written since I was a young child of seven; I wrote stories for a hand-made magazine and then charged relatives and friends to read it! I wrote poems then too, and still do – some good, some bad, none published, yet the urge to pen a new one from time to time is still there.
Like Marion, my jobs have always involved much writing in many professional forms – letters, reports, reviews, strategies, research papers, book chapters and books.
When we started writing fiction as Mirren Jones, I felt a true liberation from so many years of factually correct and academically-orientated prose. To be able to throw the rule-book out was a little scary, but I got used to it, and now love taking risks with my writing. As a reader I lean towards literary fiction and aspire to write it, if not quite yet, then someday!
So being in the presence of creative genius inspires rather than disheartens, thrills rather than dispirits and feeds the mind and soul that writes. Comparisons are most definitely out!