talking about nick hornby talking

19 September 2009

Last Sunday Cathy and I had really great “sister date.”  We met up downtown at the Harbourfront Centre where Nick Hornby was reading from his latest novel Juliet, Naked and was interviewed by the Globe and Mail’s Carl Wilson.  We both enjoyed the reading, thinking the newest novel will feature more of his really insightful characterizations with their idiosyncrasies and questionable judgement/actions/maturity that is so smack on to many of us that we relate to them over and over again.  Hornby lets us take the mickey out of ourselves. 

In talking about this, he told Wilson that he more often does it with male characters because he came of age in the feminist era, during which time there was a lot of new respecting and appreciating women so exposing their quirks and silly behaviour just doesn’t feel right.  Which made me chuckle, thinking he sounded like one of his characters. 

Cathy and I were both surprised to hear him say that he never feels any sense of accomplishment when he looks at his books lined up on his shelf (not to mention those movie treatments of several of them).   He said he looks back in his mind to himself at work, and all he can think about are the long hours lost to sitting at that computer playing solitaire.  (I wondered how many of us that laughed at his statement were having a chuckle at ourselves.)

At first I felt a little crushed – if Nick Hornby doesn’t experience a sense of achievement in his creative accomplishments, will little ol’ me ever feel it?  I mean, what are we working for?  I don’t particularly aspire to best-selling novels or anything like that, but I do feel a great sense of satisfaction in building and sustaining this blog and getting the odd story out there now and then.  But why keep going if there is never a sense of having accomplished something meaningful at the end of it all? 

But then I got to thinking, what if Nick Hornby looked at his bookshelf and said “There, I’ve done it.  I’ve achieved everything now.”  What would be the impetus then for him to write another story?  If he felt he’d achieved all he had to, then why attempt to ascend to the next level?  In that respect, I think his looking at his bookshelf and thinking only of those hours lost to solitaire games might just be a healthy thing after all.  If we lose our direction, that goal at the end of it all and the reason for moving from the place where we’re at, then why move at all? 

Anyway, the thought of Nick Hornby, famous author, sitting at his desk moving virtual cards around, maybe feeling stuck or tired or lazy or uninspired endeared him to us in much the same way as his characters do.

After the event, us sisters went and had lunch and a couple of beers on a sunny pub patio and talked about that.  And lots of other stuff, as sisters do.


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