...and it wasn't a good one. I think I might officially be quite old. I remember thinking of people my age as officially old when I was at school. Dead old. Nearly dead. Maybe should already be dead. Mind you, anyone over the age of 25 seemed ancient when I was at school. And I am most certainly over 25. So, I'm old. And then I read that Philip Roth has retired from writing (or reading, apparently) novels at the grand old age of 79. I can't tell you how disappointed I am.
I love Philip Roth.
I know I've written some critical reviews about his work (particularly the later stuff), but basically, he's a genius. He said he wasn't going to write any more and couldn't stand the thought of writing a mediocre novel. As if. So, two things happened: first, I imagined I'd somehow upset him by my critical review of his last novel (silly, I know) and secondly, I realised I still have quite a few years of writing in me yet, since I am nowhere near 79. See how easy it is to turn such information into oneself? I, like Mr. Roth, have spent a lot of time reading, writing and teaching novels, but unlike Mr. Roth, I haven't quite finished yet. Oh no. In fact, I am 30,000 words into the next offering - working title 'Close to Me' - and there's plenty more in this old dog yet, like a series of novels (also in progress) about a female tattoo artist called Marsh who finds herself in all sorts of trouble. However, Roth's comments did make me think. Does a career in novels eventually result in a total rejection of novels? I can't imagine turning my back on books, not at the moment, but will I reach a point where the printed word is something to retire from in every way? Maybe. Work, after all, is work, but could I retire from it? And, will there be a point where I have no other ideas, or no compulsion to write (or read). Don't know. Don't know, and frankly don't care, at the moment. At the moment, I have loads of ideas, but I can see what Roth means.
So, I had a birthday. So what. Philip Roth's stopped writing - that's news, but I'm still at it. Watch out for 'Close to Me', it should be done by October next year, and let's not forget Marsh - she's got lo
Kerry Hadley-Pryce has written fiction for as long as she can remember. She has had a thousand jobs ranging from dinner lady to company director, but writing is the best job she's had. She lives with her family in the sunny West Midlands, UK.