News is going around Twitter and the SFF blogosphere about the passing of Diana Wynne Jones, a british novelist.
I’ve never read anything by her, my apprenticeship as an SFF reader was done under the tutelage of other writers, but when doing a search this morning, I was struck by the fact that she didn’t seem all that old (she was 76). Many of her peers, other fantasists from the 70’s onward, are getting on in years and starting to look slightly the worse for wear themselves. It got me thinking that I’m halfway to their age, and not looking so fit myself. I wonder if I’ll get to accomplish even a fraction of what they have, from a writerly perspective.
Seeing the state of those writers who are about twice my age, but who are pillars in the SFF community, has me questioning my own role. Or at least my potential for one. More than at any point in the past, I want more than to have just the potential to be a writer.
Odd that the death of someone I don’t know, someone I haven’t even known as a reader of her work, would galvanize me to kick my own writer’s ass in gear, but in a sense that’s exactly what’s happened. I’ve gotten more writing done today than I have in any week going back to November last year, and all due to an imaginary clock ticking away over my shoulder. The ideas are coming. The words are coming. Not for just one project, either, but for several, each of which is demanding it’s own spot in my schedule. It’s like having a deadline you have to stick to, but the date and time is in a sealed envelope you can’t see. Very odd feeling.
At any rate, RIP Diana. If what I’m reading from those who knew you is even half-true, then you were a remarkable woman indeed. Thank you for inspiring those who’ve inspired me.