Jim Crace to Write One Final Novel
Jim Crace is about to publish a politically-oriented novel with what sounds like some science fiction elements, All That Follows, then write one more and be done with the whole novel-writing gig, he tells the Independent (via):
"Writing careers are short. ... For every 100 writers, 99 never get published. Of those who do, only one in every hundred gets a career out of it, so I count myself as immensely privileged. I will have written 12 novels when I finish this next book and it's enough. I'm going to stop. Too often bitterness is the end product of a writing career. I keep seeing writers who have grown bitter. And I know that I am just as likely to turn bitter as anyone else. So it's self-preservation."Crace is a marvelous writer -- his Arcadia and Being Dead are particular favorites of mine, and he can count John Crowley among his fans. If he follows through on his promise to stop writing (others have tried and failed), I will be sad at the thought of there being no more Crace novels, but will admire him all the more for doing something plenty of other writers should have done themselves. It takes a particular talent to recognize you've said what you have to say. Many writers do their best work late in their careers, but plenty don't. Others make a career of not publishing. Crace's willingness to say he can quit the habit of writing itself is impressive, though I wouldn't be surprised if he finds it more difficult than it seems at the moment. I imagine shopping lists slowly getting logorrheic ... ordinary emails gaining a lyrical edge ... letters-to-the-editor that tell stories and describe characters ... maybe even ... a blog...
Most writers would say that they are driven to write and know no other way to fill their time or make sense of the world. Crace is amused by their presumption. "My belief is that I will be quite happy not writing. JD Salinger once said, 'You've got no idea the peace of writing and not publishing,' but I am going to go one better and find the peace of not writing and not publishing. I'm looking forward to it."