Monday, 23 February 2009

Miss Potter

"There's something delicious about writing the first words of a story - you can never quite tell where they'll take you" Beatrix Potter
It was the last day of the mid term break today and because the weather wasn't that great my son and I cuddled up on the sofa together with a bowl of popcorn and watched "Miss Potter", a sweet and moving film about the life of Beatrix Potter. My friend Caroline went straight out and bought me the DVD last week after I broke the news to her about my forthcoming book. She had recognised something I had said about how the characters in a novel become very real and once you complete your novel you really miss writing about them. It's almost as though once you have created these characters they become real people. This quote by Anne Lamott sums up what I'm trying to say - "I've always sort of believed that these people are inside me- these characters know who they are and what they're about and what happens, and they need me to help get it down on paper because they don't type."
Beatrix Potter was constantly told to get her head out of the clouds by a mother who was obsessed with marrying her off even when this was the last thing Beatrix wanted. She faced many rejections from publishing houses and was well into her thirties before anyone gave her the break she so deserved. Being an unmarried woman of 32 with a dream that few people understood must have been impossibly difficult in the 1800's. Despite the fact that nobody believed that she would ever be successful Beatrix Potter never gave up on her dream, so strong was her conviction that the characters she created were real. As a result she is still, to this day the most successful children's author of all time.
The parts in the film where Miss Potter (played by Renee Zellweger) sees her work in print for the first time and eventually spies her completed novel in the shop window sent shivers up my spine and brought it home what an exciting time lies ahead for me. I really related to the fact that Beatrix Potter always knew somewhere deep down that her characters would be as loved by her readers as they were by her. She really is an inspiration, a reminder to us all never to give up on the thing that we simply cannot stop thinking about - the one thing our heart simply won't allow us to let go. Thankyou Caroline for buying me such a great and relevant film. The story ends with a quote by Beatrix Potter which I also love and one which strikes a chord at this time -
"Stories don't always end where their authors intended..but there is joy in following them wherever they take us"


  1. so glad that your dream is coming true. i am really looking forward to the book coming out.
    paul and i have watched the film miss potter tonight. i agree that she is quite inspirational.
    agatha christie has similar friends that went through life with her into old age, i believe.
    hope to see you soon or maybe on the water of leith walks in the summer.
    love maura