On the Jellicoe Road

Most writers I know would like nothing more than the financial independence to give up work and write full-time. I’ve never felt this way. I love my job passionately and even if I had the opportunity to give it up to write, I think I’d prefer to keep working, however hard it may be to keep a balance. There are joys I get from my job that writing could never provide. I’ve always admired authors who (at least in my imagination) are successful enough with book sales to write full-time but instead choose to keep working. I imagine they too love their jobs and do it for passion and fulfilment, just as they write for the same reasons. After all, it’s very hard to make such a deliberate choice. It means never quite having enough time for anything, and it means producing books at a slower rate.

But then I read books like On the Jellicoe Road by Mellina Marchetta and my position is instantly reversed. Why, oh why, can’t she give up her pesky time-consuming job as a teacher to concentrate on delivering to me more novels as fine as this? Why must I wait so long between each of her books? I will surely die before having the pleasure of the next one. It cannot be borne! How could she consider spending her time on anything else when she is so very very good at writing?

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