Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Maud Newton: An Appreciation

Over the years I've often visited Maud Newton's blog. It has been the place to go for smart talk about books. Well-thought-out interviews and reviews. A spot of literary gossip. News about Maud's own writing.

She's been silent all summer and I got out of the habit of checking in. But yesterday I did and discovered a new post that explains her absence. Her father-in-law died and she has been grieving. He was, in fact, more than her father-in-law--(that's painful enough)--he was also her long-distance writing partner. He died without having finished his book.

It might creep her out to know this--(we've never met; she has no idea who I am)--but I've felt connected to Maud in many ways. She went to the University of Florida and studied creative writing there. So did I. She loves books passionately. So do I. She's been deeply wounded by Christian fundamentalism. So have I. She's struggled to juggle a job, a relationship, a difficult cast of family characters, and her writing ambition. So have I. And because of some of that, or all of that, she has had a perennial novel-in-progress. Me too.

Like Maud, I also have writing partners. We talk a lot about our work. We encourage one another. We commisserate when things aren't going well. We compare methods of procrastination. We bounce ideas off one another. But we're not getting it done. Or done fast enough.

Maud writes that now "it’s impossible to imagine ever returning to a life in which I treat my writing like a frivolous hobby or prioritize writing about other people’s novels over working on my own."

I want her wake-up call to be my wake-up call. Our wake-up call.

Godspeed, Maud.

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