Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jane Eyre and Werewolves? Wuthering Heights and Zombies?

Sandy has just read the Jane Austen mash up, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. She was not amused, and she makes very good points here.

I've been pondering other possible entanglements. What monsters would I insert into other 19th century works? Heathcliff is already a bit of a zombie, in terms of feeling any human emotion beyond anger. What would I insert into Jane Eyre?

I wonder, would it be a fun endeavor? I would probably feel constrained by the original. I'd be much more inclined to be one of those writers to create a sequel, or an entirely different work out of the minor characters.

Or, I would be if I had time to tackle novel writing. These days, it's hard for me to carve out time to write a short story.

Or maybe it's that I realize that I can only do so much, and much as I would like to be a best selling novelist, my talents lie with poetry. If I try to write a novel (and then send it out to agents and then do a book tour, should I be lucky enough to have it accepted), while still trying to write poems (and send them out to journals) and create poetry manuscripts, would I dilute my efforts, and be successful nowhere?

I have decided to concentrate my efforts on my poetry. It's partly because poetry fits into the life I have now; it's partly because I feel like I'm a better poet than any other kind of writer. But I'll always wonder about the roads not taken.

Before I grew up, I used to write everything: journals, puppet shows, short stories, novels, poems, liturgical services of all sorts, imaginary news stories, newsletters (The Berkey Bulletin, which my so-nice relatives subscribed to). I miss that creative child/adolescent, who wrote things for the love of it (or to fill the boredom of the day), without worrying about the financial rewards and the success factor.

In some ways, my poet self is closest to my younger self. No one writes poems thinking that they'll be able to quit their day jobs, if their day job provides much money at all. I measure success in the ways that I gasp in delight at the quirky way my brain works; if other people enjoy my poems, that's just the icing on my poetry cake. I go through the day observing things I wouldn't notice if I wasn't a writer. How much more reward do I need?

1 comment:

Sandy Longhorn said...

In all fairness, I must admit to not finishing P & P and Zombies, but thanks for the link.

I've had the same thoughts about writing fiction myself. I've got at least one novel idea that percolates up every now and then, but I'm too addicted to writing poetry to give it the time it needs to come to life. Perhaps in my retirement? If there is any such thing by the time I get there.

Lovely description of how you measure success as a writer in the last paragraph.