The indefatigable Fay Weldon has been opining again, dishing out advice to writers. She says we need to get with the program and write fast, page-turning reads because people nowadays are too busy for contemplative or demanding reading. There may be some commercial wisdom in what she’s saying but her reasoning is flawed. People don’t have less time these days, they have more time because they no longer have to polish the brasses, push sheets through a clothes-wringer, black-lead the grate, try to make something edible out of a sheep’s head, or walk ten miles to market to sell their eggs. People today have plenty of time to read if they really want to. If they choose to do other things should we writers chase after them? If we hope to continue earning a living perhaps we’ll have to. Or should we just pack it in, call it a day, try a new profession? I wonder if I could be a life-style mentor?
Fay, who knows a thing or two about this business, advises simplicity of plot and fast-paced action. Something you can wolf down while checking Facebook at the same time. Like a literary Pot Noodle.
At this rate the future seems to point to graphic novels. You can already see it happening in bookshops. Like tattoos, what was, not so long ago, an embarrassing secret is now mainstream. A grown man reading a graphic novel is an unremarkable sight now. Depressing really.
On another, quite unconnected point however Fay and I are definitely on the same page: the best thing to do with a husband’s socks is just pick the feckin’ things up.