Posted by: stelladuffy | January 6, 2010

up and down

Hugely impressed by Marian Keyes’ current newsletter.
Far too many people I meet seem to think that being a writer/artist/maker of work is the only goal. That once they get that elusive book deal/acting role/commission etc, everything else will fall into place. Conversely, an awful lot also seem to buy into the have-to-be-mad-to-create myth! That if you don’t have a touch of the tragic hero about you, your work will never amount to much.
For most of us it’s just somewhere in between, like everyone else’s life. My having a bunch of published novels and various plays performed hasn’t made my experience of grief any less, it doesn’t stop the constant sharp pain in my hip (via a couple of crumbling lower vertebrae thank you), it doesn’t make me any less concerned about the health of my loved ones, it didn’t stop me getting cancer and it didn’t make my experience of infertility any easier. (If anything the lack of sick & holiday pay for freelancers can be an extra pressure.)
Making my living by making work IS a great thing, and I’m very glad it’s what I do, grateful to be able to do it – but I and every other writer/actor/director/maker I know, suffers the same day to day concerns as any other person. Some of us manage to get by and some of us don’t. Marian Keyes’ generous honesty will hopefully help to remind us that happiness comes from within, from ourselves, in whatever way we understand it – and NOT from selling your first novel/bestseller/next two dozen bestsellers. By all means we should keep on plugging away at the work, but I’m grateful to be reminded that what I’m doing on the planet right now is about who I am, not what I do for my living.


  1. Hello Stella,
    I really like the cover and I think book covers are most important. This should stand out from the rest. I hope the book does well in France. I wrote to tell you how much I enjoyed it and about my own inability to have children a while ago. I’m the one who writes for The People’s Friend and subscribes to Myslexia!!
    Well, I have to say I totally agree with what you say above.
    Re adoption – our son has now returned to live beside his birth family in Stoke on Trent, together with his wife baby and Laura’s child. That means we’ve turned round 100% back to where we started when we adopted him at ten weeks. They’ve all lived round there for generations.
    It seems I’ve been a surrogate mother for 29 years. Problem is that adoption in 1980 is completely different from adoption today, Facebook etc means finding relatives easier. He hasn’t used Social Services mediation at all, just gone and moved them all up there.
    I’m not sure that either the 1980 or 2005 methods (the Adoption Act) taken on by Social Services works, as we have friends who adopted three years ago and they are having awful problems with their little girl aged seven who copies everything her brother aged nine in everything (they adopted both at 4 and 6).
    I have yet to see anything written about adoption from the other side, ie from the adoptive parents end, and all the problems inherent in this as well as the pleasures, yet there is a great deal of information and help for mothers with birth babies and for children who want to find their adoptive families. Needless to say Social Services Adoption Unit are as bad in 2010 as in the 1980s when we approached them for help. There’s a book there to be written Stella. Maybe it should be from me… or might be an idea for you to think about as you are such a good writer.
    Really I’ve written to say I’ve read a really brilliant book called “The Cure for Death by Lightening” by Gail Anderson-Dargatz. She is a Canadian writer and has written 4 books. That is the best one. It won the Betty Trask Award. If you haven’t read it, please do. I know you will appreciate it. I know she and you must think along the same lines!
    I run the Book Club at Rugeley Library and I have stuck my neck out and asked for us to have it as a group read. This might not be a good idea as the last time I recommended Salley Vickers’ book about Freud and nobody liked it! I don’t like her new one either. They are a lovely lot at our though and very honest people.
    Anyway good look with your book sales in France. Look after yourself.
    My ailments tend to be worse when I get anxious, I think worrking at something you really want to do isn’t work at all. I actually enjoy working by myself after a lifetime of having to meet deadlines in local newspapers/Staffordshire Life.
    My husband is the opposite, although he is an early retired teacher and painter and has just done an MA in fine art, he works in dribs and drabs and enjoys his sleep and rests a grat deal.
    Take care of yourself Stella . Can’t think why I think of you as a friend but I do. Perhaps it was that wonderful last book? Sheila Culshaw x

  2. thank you Sheila, very kind of you. hope the book group works out! and yes, I’m sure there is a book to write from the adoptive parents pov – your next task perhaps?
    all best,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: