Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Joys of Blackberry Picking.

I think Peter Pan had the right idea. It's no fun growing up!
Why do we have to leave the heady excitement of childhood behind, just because we grow out of our childhood bodies? I miss the carefree spontaneity of yelling goodbye, slamming the front door and disappearing off to explore parks, play two-ball against brick walls and jump over elastic stretched between two play-mates knees. I don't think my knees are up to it now, but it's the giddying euphoria I miss. The simple pleasures which buoyed the soul.
As Wordsworth wrote of childhood, "The heavens laugh with you, in your jubilee: I feel - I feel it all." Why then as we grow older does he write, "Shades of the prison-house begin to close/Upon the growing boy."
I've tried to capture that love of simple pleasures in Lies and Linguine. My heroine, Tess, finds pleasure in picking blackberries, not using her Blackberry. She loves nature, visiting the fair, daydreaming, eating 99's and noticing the changing seasons.
I come to a letter I received from an agent returning three chapters of Lies and Linguine. She'd scribbled in a corner of my returned submission letter, that my writing was "really rather good," but that the plot seemed a little implausible. Life does seem implausible sometimes! Just read the papers and a past blog of mine about life being stranger than fiction.
My plot includes a deceitful boyfriend lying for his own gains, a hero with mild OCD brought on by past tragedies, his sister who is battling breast cancer and a heroine who - although she loves another - stays with her boyfriend for longer than she should, through misplaced loyalty. Jealousy, manipulative people, crime, betrayal and fear all have a part to play in my novel. But friendship, support and simple pleasures all go a long way in helping to heal all concerned, despite a few hiccoughs and twists along the way.
Such is life! It's the agent's perogative not to like my storyline. But implausible?
I call it life's challenges.

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