Wednesday, March 3, 2010

P.D. James is flying home

Just heard the mystery writer, Baroness P.D. James, talking to Jian Gomeshi on CBC. She was a marvel of warmth and graciousness. "It's construction," she said about successful novels of any kind. "That's why I admire Jane Austen. Emma is the best constructed novel in the English language, I think."

At the end, he commented that she was now 90; would that affect her output? She said that yes, perhaps she might have finished with her time-consuming detective novels. "Writers have go on writing," she said. "That's what they do. I might write something shorter, in the hopes that I'd have time to finish it. Before it's time to fold up my tray table and fasten my seat belt and ... hope for a soft landing." And she laughed.

It's been a very good flight for this Baroness, chair of the Booker committee with honourary degrees from 6 universities. Not bad for a mere mystery novel writer. And more, she hopes, to come.

Suddenly, the fact that I am turning 60 this year seems like nothing. 60 - piffle! P.D. James at 90, full of youth and energy and humour. As was my friend Muriel Duckworth, at 100. Such role models.

So I'm going to take my perky self outside today - it's 4 degrees and sunny with a bright blue sky. Time to stride vigourously about, feeling very, very young.

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