Congratulations to Hilary Mantel who won this year's Booker, the only woman to have won the award twice (once for her book 'Wolf Hall', a historical novel about Cromwell, and this year for the sequel 'Bring Up the Bodies.')
The New Yorker this week has an interesting profile on her (Read entire article here). While reading it I was struck by her description of the writing process, how she finds an aspect of it unreliable - that mysterious creative aspect that all of us writers treasure, but are also unsure of:
"I don't think one ever quite learns to trust the process. I feel, What if I wake up tomorrow and I can't do it anymore? I know I'll always be able to write, in the sense of having a robust style that's sufficient to the occasion, and I know that books can be got onto the page by craft, but the thing that makes a phrase that fizzes on paper - you always fear that may not be there any longer, because, after all, you did nothing to deserve it. You did nothing to contrive it. It's just there. You don't understand it, it's out of your control, and it could desert you."
'the thing that makes a phrase that fizzes on paper...' That inexplicable spark that comes and goes and illuminates a piece of work is held highly by all writers. And it's true that all writers - even successful award-winning ones - are aware of its power and afraid that it will desert them.
Part relief to know this!