Destiny, John William Waterhouse
I’ve been doing much reading of writer’s journals lately, partly to get through my stack of must-reads and also because I take particular pleasure in reading about the creative struggles of other writers as well as getting a peek into what they thought and how they lived their writing lives.
John Fowles in his The Journals: Volume 1, 1949-1965 writes as a twenty-five year-old university lecturer at the University of Poitiers, France in his neophyte days and gifts the reader with a journey through his philosophical, self-analytical mind.
In A Writer’s Diary, Virginia Woolf’s observations and commentary, her anxieties, and ruminations about her work, both published and in the making, are beautifully written with unselfconscious talent and it saddens me to know this brilliant woman took a deliberate walk one day into the River Ouse the pockets of her overcoat weighed with stones.
Gail Godwin’s journals, The Making of a Writer, begin in her early years as a young woman working as a receptionist (“glorified receptionist” as she describes it) at the United States Travel Service in London, struggling to write and determined to succeed as a novelist. She let nothing stand in her way.
For me there are emotional resonances and recognitions in the heartfelt pages of these journals. In reading of other writers’ creative struggles, I realize the value my ideas, and accept that my way of thinking, writing, and creating will never fit a pattern. Each novel that comes has its individual journey to ultimate creation. This is a very freeing thought.
John Fowles photo credit: Lidia Vianu