Sorry, it's been a long time between posts (had a crazily busy week!), but I wanted to say how fascinating the comments have been, particularly to my post on approaches to creativity.
As mentioned by Simmone, Lia's Hill's book, The Beginner's Guide to Living, apart from being a remarkable take on the search for meaning, is also a wonderful example of what Simmone, and Lia herself, has described as "method writing". Basically she went and did what her character would be doing (within reason)--travelled on trains and described what she saw, went to the library and looked at books or met strangers on the street... She basically lived inside her character's skin for those months she was writing the book.
I interviewed Lia for a story, and what was also fascinating was that she had her youngest child still at home with her, so he just trundled around with her and she talked to him about the big ideas she was exploring in her novel. That's one way to write and mother simultaneously! She's an inspiring woman.
Also, talking about the search for meaning, today I had the chance to go to a preview screening of Sarah Watt's new film, My Year Without Sex, and I was so moved. It was so refreshing to see ordinary (all-too-recognisable!) suburban family life on film, without it being either romanticised or quirkified or given dark undertones. Here again, the search for some overarching "truth" that is the human condition, amid the pressures of everyday life.
Sarah has such a talent for poignancy; her films speak to that part of ourselves that gives rise to both laughter and despair, sometimes simultaneously. I suppose by that I mean our hearts. There's this wonderful line in the film where the main character's husband tells her that she has a "gift for emotion". I wonder if that's been lifted straight from life, because I think that's Sarah's gift too.
I so loved this movie--and it made me laugh, lots. Today's screening was full of cast and crew and others involved in the film's production. I went along with my dear friend Sally Rippin and she noted that we were sitting next to the pole dancers! (Very funny--I won't tell you where they fit in the plot.)
One other thing--I listened to this wonderfully frank and generous talk by Helen Garner about what is commonly called writer's block, but which she describes as the necessary state of "unsentenceness" that must precede the first sentence of any new work. It provided much solace--and ties in with lots of the things we've been talking about here.