A writer’s thoughts: I’ve never been one for soppy love stories. Unless you count the first couple of series of Outlander which matched love and adventure and damn good story-telling. However after the author scurried her characters across the seas leaving Scotland and all those glorious men in kilts to wander the lochs and hills without us, I rather lost interest. There’s Bridgerton of course. The sexed up Netflix production also based on a novel, showed us that corsets and breathing don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. I quite enjoyed this production if only for the costumes and the ‘let’s throw history aside’ casting.
However top of the list, for me, is Gone With The Wind which wasn’t actually a love story anyway. Gone With the Wind has something for everyone – slavery, war, survival, land and loss combined with a love story. I like a unique character and Gone with the Wind has Scarlett, a callously optimistic woman cast against the backdrop of the American Civil War with only one thing on her mind, survival. As disaster strikes at every turn Scarlett drags everyone along in her wake, her unyielding determination to survive and succeed in a changing world her one goal. The novel is so much broader in scope than the movie. Apart from the extraordinary period it covers and the remarkable picture it gives us of time and place, it is Scarlett’s unstoppable drive that reaches out across time and dares us to keep trying, no matter what. After all, ‘Tomorrow is another day’. There’s a message there for everyone. And it’s worth remembering that Gone With The Wind is actually about Scarlett’s love for the land and her beloved property Tara; Rhett came a poor second.
So what do I like. A good yarn. Something that propels me into another place and time. Crime, mystery, sci-fi, literary, contemporary women’s fiction and of course historical works. I’m not a reading snob. What’s the point in that. Give me a Wilber Smith ‘strap me in the chair’ or the 2020 Booker prizewinning Shuggie Bain (which is excellent) and I’ll enjoy both. I’m reading to be entertained after all. But if there’s one love story I will admit to it’s my personal one with Ernest Hemingway. He swept me away aged twelve with For Whom The Bell Tolls and later, The Old Man and the Sea. Here the great literary theme of man versus nature is laid bare for the reader. It is a fearsome struggle. One many can relate too in NSW at the moment with continual rain and rising waters. But back to EH. His understated style struck a chord with me and at some deeper level I wanted his life; the martini-drinking, big game hunting, bull-fighting bestselling author. We’ll, who wouldn’t. Hemingway stands alone as the first author to shake me out of complacency and compel me to write. He also got me thinking about living big to write big, which is why my research trips can get a bit hairy at times. But there’s nothing quite like an adventure. That’s life after all.
(Image: Hemingway’s Studio Key West Florida.)