Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Writers in France

We were invited for aperitifs in the house above ours yesterday evening. It reminds me of Jonathan Miller’s notion of a perfect holiday – to stay in the house across the street, and watch the comings and goings in your own home from a different perspective.

The neighbour is a doctor from Avignon, his wife annoying her children by speaking English to them all the time. I managed the tale of my Haldane biography in French, but the women admitted to be being much more interested in my novels. Douglas Kennedy, an American writer living in London but with an apartment in Paris, is their favourite current novelist. It was interesting to hear how writers affected the results of the recent presidential election here. In coming out in favour of Sarkozy, they rendered him mush less apparently rightwing in the people’s eyes. We remarked how little impact writers have, in both Britain and America, in comparison.

This morning’s walk was around the 3rd century Roman aqueduct in nearby Ansignan. I’ve enjoyed walking and imaging my way into the scene in recent years, as it was to play a central part in a novel I was planning. Of late though I have decided to let that novel evaporate without writing it – there really wasn’t enough interest from publishers, and it was not one of those I needed to write. It may emerge, in a different form, in years to come.

So life is lighter for not writing a book, and a walk becomes just a walk.


Blogger Bhaswati said...

I like what you say in the end. When a walk is just a walk, one tends to absorb so much more than when there's the invisible but palpable pressure of seeing things as a writer.

2:02 PM  

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