I’ve just come back from a week in the Cotswolds and heard of an event so tragic I can’t stop thinking about it. It occurred at a place called Minster Lovell during the Wars of the Roses.
Lord Lovell supported the House of York and was on the run from the Lancastrian army. Seeking refuge at his family seat of Minster Lovell, he locked himself in the dungeon. Entrance to it must somehow have been sealed because he lived there undiscovered for months, visited only by the single servant left on the premises.
Then one day the servant came no more. Either he defected to the Lancastrians or was captured or died. Whatever happened Lord Lovell, unable to get out of his hiding place, starved to death.
His disappearance remained a mystery until decades later when the house was re-inhabited and the dungeon found. There, sitting at a table with pen and paper before him, was the skeleton of Lord Lovell. Almost instantly the air entering the dungeon dissolved the paper to dust.
Do you write what you like without hesitation? I don’t mean criminal stuff like saying so-and-so is a thief, or should be killed: I mean what you think. Do you feel free to express your opinion, even if it’s through the mouthpiece of a character in a book, without jeapordising your chances of publication? I don’t. I feel as if I’m living in the Eastern Bloc before the Berlin Wall came down.
For example, what conclusions do you draw about me when I say I hate arranged marriages? I honestly think they should be illegal. Without them there’d be no honour killings but apart from that I hate the idea of such obediance to the will of another.
It’s like freedom of speech. Why should we say only what someone else allows us to? Isn’t our opinion, even if idiotic, as permissable as theirs?
Not long ago there was the laughable instance of a health visitor being disciplined for offering to pray for a patient. How can you stop someone praying? You don’t know they’re doing it, do you? But all Inquisitions think they know everything.
I can say I hate the Queen. But what happens if I say I hate queens? I don’t, but you see my point?
Why did I add that last craven sentence? Do you, no matter what you think, defend my right to say it?
I read a blog today by paranormal romance writer Nicky Charles in which she tells how she writes for nothing. Though she has a best-seller readership she gives her e-books away, with a request for voluntary donations to writers in greater need. (Not sure how that works.)
While I admire her attitude I’ve no intention of following suit. Why should I? There are libraries for people who can’t afford to buy books which I’ve already paid for through tax. I’m supposed to write for nothing as well while the site where my book is posted gets rich on advertising? Stuff it.
I don’t enjoy writing, I’m lazy and would rather watch TV. I write because I feel a compunction to do so; I don’t know why but I need to write. But the point is to be read by people who are prepared to pay. If no one buys my first book I’ll never write another.
Everyone is worthy of their hire (to paraphrase). Readers who don’t want to pay their writer should piss off. Would they work for nothing?