Saturday, July 6, 2013

Joanne Harris, 'Gentlemen and Players' and the writer's responsibility.

You may recognise this lady, Joanne Harris, who had such prudent words to say when I was having a difficult time at work.

It was a recent reblog from her blog that enticed me into reading Gentlemen & Players this month specifically. This book's been sitting on my shelves for a number of months, but this photo set and accompanying text sold me beyond doubt.

Gentlemen and Players, by Joanne Harris.

"If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past fifteen years, it’s this: that murder is really no big deal. It’s just a boundary, meaningless and arbitrary as all others-a line drawn in the dirt."

How completely evocative is that? How much more does it make me want to read it? How talented this person for putting this collection of images together in such a way?

If there's one thing I've found that is commonly inherent in Joanne Harris' books, it's that there are very few characters of conventional morals. Joanne seems to have a particular talent for drawing out these characters and making their motivations sympathetic, understandable, whether they be protagonist, antagonist, or something else entirely.

I love any excuse to post something from her Tumblr. Around the same time as the problems concerning Charlaine Harris' final book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries were making themselves public, Joanne responded to a fan letter which took it upon itself to dictate to Joanne what she should and shouldn't write. Joanne was in the middle of a five part series of blog posts on herself and her relationship to others at the time.

In response to him, she wrote,

But readers are not everything. Basically, I write because writing is necessary to me.

This is a statement I've seen written by many other writers. That's why (some of us) are paid terribly. There are an abundance of us who just need to write, not for the money, not for the readers, just for the writing.

She also went on to write,

A writer can (and should) only try to please one person at a time. That person is the writer herself – because trying to please anyone else, or modifying what you write for the sake of a real or imagined readership leads, not only to madness, but to dishonest writing. And, whatever else we expect of them, we need writers to be true. (read more)

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