I have had the extreme good fortune of being in France for the past two weeks at the CAMAC residency that I was crowdfunded / French Consulate funded to attend. As I’ve said similarly in a postcard that I’ll send to a friend this week:
I’m basically in Beauty and the Beast. With less beast and more cheese.
It is truly phenomenal and thus far has been extremely productive. I’ve plotted ten chapters ahead in my new novel (not something that’s my strong point) and have been writing a lot. The space I’ve been provided is incredibly comfortable – a little double-storey cottage with ivy growing on the walls and a balconette where I am tempted to sing the few french songs I no non-stop.
The best thing about the location of this town is that there are roughly 100 people living here, there is NO shop at all, and the only things there are to do is write and walk and cycle and skip through the countryside singing and being creatively inspired (dear citizens of Marnay-Sur-Seine, if you’re wondering who that is singing Disney, it’s me. Desole, je ne suis pas desole <<– it’s so great here I’m making french jokes).
I’m here with incredible writers and artists from around the world (Brazil, Germany, USA, Australia, Japan) and I’m having the absolute very truly best time.
It has been a great opportunity to practice my French (which was dry as a day old baguette) and more importantly it has given me the space to take a few moments and ask myself why it is that I want to pursue this dream, and what I define success as.
As you’ll know if you follow the lovely Paige Nick, the South African publishing industry is full of wonderful people who work really hard to get great texts out there, BUT (big hairy butt), the South African readership is easily swayed by an international text, and by the next murder/thriller/erotica from that famous author who is a) likely to be non-South Africa, b) likely to be a man, and c) not going to help grow South African fiction.
BUY SOUTH AFRICAN BOOKS PEOPLE. AND WHILE YOU’RE AT IT BUY AFRICAN BOOKS TOO!
The reason I say this is that for so many of us South African authors, success isn’t a million bucks and a book tour. Success is selling the books they printed (hopefully), but more importantly it’s liking the book that you wrote, and loving writing.
So I’m really grateful that I’m still proud of The Peculiars, and that I am still loving writing this next one. And I’m even more grateful for the very kind people who have sponsored this opportunity for me. I’m doing my best to make you proud.