I have finally caught up with everyone else, and have read some Alice Munro novellas. In particular, I’ve read “Too much happiness”, published in 2009. And it is always the same – it leads to quite a bit of frustration on my part.
The frustration comes from the fact that I can never be this good, can never be this precise, can never be this layered. When I compare Mrs Munro’s writing to my own, hers is the delicate surgical procedure on our society and time; mine is the glove-fisted, ham-handed bleating about inanities.
Reading something this good raises the bar because how can I put my name to anything that is not this good, that is not this elegant and precise? How could I think of putting my name to my own texts which, in comparison, is porridge compared to the master chef’s feast of words?
But also, her writing shows what is possible. It opens a door in the mind, a new level of understanding. If you see it, you know what can be achieved. Regardless of how puerile your own attempts seem in comparison. And that’s good, isn’t it?