The Oxford Literary Festival has given me such food for thought. It has also given me a lot of food. Blueberry ice cream from Oxford’s Own G&Ds on Wednesday and a pot of Jamie Oliver’s sausage and feta stew today, delicious! I've had a thoroughly enjoyable week learning all sorts of new things and discovering (in the way of Rory Gilmore) my very own study tree In Christ Church where I learned to write 'Ben' in Hebrew (now there is love for you. I'll leave it to you to decide if it was the first thing in the book or a sign of unending devotion to the man in my life!!)
Today I went to see the truly remarkable P D James talk about her latest novel, Death Comes to Pemberley. As a die-hard Jane Austen fan I lapped up this offering on the future of Elizabeth and Darcy. It was great to hear her talk about the journey she made in researching and writing the novel, that and her personal passion for Jane Austen.
|P D James, what a woman! (from the Guardian)|
But the one thing that really struck home was how inspirational her personal story is. It was calmly relayed in the first few minutes of introduction that she has had a forty year career as a successful novelist. And that she began this career at the age of 50! At ninety years of age she is still as sharp as a tack and writing best-selling fiction. ‘I’ll never stop writing,’ she said ‘Though I am worried that I’ll die mid-way through a novel. I do hate to leave things unfinished.’ What a great spirit. If she can take on the new and adventurous at 92 then I can certainly give it a go at 27!!
Before she began novel writing she had forty years as an administrator for the NHS and the Home Office. Her husband had been injured in the war and she had to provide for their growing family. She was practical about this. It was what life dealt her. But it was a lucky thing (or perhaps she made it lucky...) as it was here that her inspiration for many of her famous crime novels came. Then, in her forties, came the moment when she decided to really give this writing lark a go (she had wanted to be a writer since childhood). It dawned on her that there would never be a good time to write. Life would always throw up demands, there would always be something else to do. So why not do it now? I can totally identify with that.
So all in all another fantastic day. On Wednesday I also discovered the secret of the perfect Earl Grey (it’s Neroli Oil – I’ll give you that one for free!) and discovered that there are in fact such jobs as International Tea Tasters. Should this Vicar thing not work out that sounds like quite a satisfactory Plan B!