Us writers need encouragement. We also need to learn how to encourage ourselves. For example when I began to send off various short stories I was very disappointed when I got rejections. Then I began to view them differently. A note with a ‘thank you’ on it was, I decided, evidence of some kind of interest. The New Yorker sent me notes with ‘please send more’. I kept them and regarded them as praise. Longer letters with feedback indicated the story had been considered, and also that it had been read! So do not overlook praise, muted or lovely, if you get it. And remember to praise yourselves for having sent your writing out into the big wide world. It is part of your ‘one wild and precious life’. That lovely quote comes from poet Mary Oliver.

In order to follow my own advice about this I’ve decided to include a review in this blog. I came across a while ago and thought ‘that’s nice’. Then I forgot it. But now I realise how grateful I am for this encouragement. And how wonderful it was to learn, early this year, that very large quantities of my books had been borrowed in U.K. libraries. My books feel like friends, and I love to share them. So if you want to write too please do. It’s a journey. Getting published is a wonderful bonus. But every word you write from the heart is precious. The business side of writing is just that, a business. The soulful side of it can be so beautiful.

In beauty may you walk (from Navajo prayer).

‘Ready Or Not?’

Another bitter-sweet comedy of manners by popular Irish novelist and broadcaster, Grace Wynne-Jones, set mainly in today’s smart, rapidly changing Dublin, this amiable novel charts the follies, struggles and dreams of five people who, during one crazy summer, mature to a better understanding of themselves and what they really need.

It has a witty sense of the absurd, media-fed images which haunt the young professionals, yet its trigger is a photograph capturing a deep and devastating truth. A major motif is that gap between an older generation, whose conventional roots restrain them from communicating even with one another, and their ‘freer’ young – a gap which Caddy’s mother tries to bridge with injudicious matchmaking and gits of Irish linen.

This is probably rightly seen as a woman’s novel (not an adolescent’s, despite the gooey, pastel cover!). The friendship between warm, wary Caddy and apparently cynical Roz is at its heart, but the character and feelings of Tom are perceptively explored, although the idealised Dan is only really seen through the eyes of others.

The new choices and patterns of relationships available to the metropolitan young, which seem to separate the generations, are revealed as superficial. Love was not straightforward in any age, and, perhaps loving is not so different either – not a matter of sexual skills but of ‘small civilities’ and the capacity to imagine what it is like to be the other. Grace Wynne-Jones has a good ear for plausible dialogue, but her rarer gift is the ability to be very funny without her characters losing sympathy or credibility.

Caroline Clark
www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Lots of love,


P.S. You can read more reviews re. my books at the book icons at the top of this page.

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