Sunday, October 29, 2006

Phil Mitchell

I often wonder what I would say to Emily Bronte should I have the chance to meet her. Along with Gandi, Elvis, and Angela Carter she would be on my 'fantasy' dinner table list. I'd like to ask the obvious; what prompted Heathcliffe? I could then end those undergrad 'autobiographical reading' debates once and for all. But I do wonder what she was like as a woman and whether she felt a sense of accomplishment before she died.
Phil Mitchell would not be on my dinner list. However, I did see him in a bar the other day. I use his screen name, to avoid any legal issues and because he seemed synonymous with the character. It was a hard choice; take a photo and get my name in 'heat', or blatantly ask him for any leads about writing for East Enders.
I do want to write for Enders, there's a sense of pride that I want to gain from seeing my name roll on the credits alongside that music. For a writer it's a kind of stable income, but the real goal is to, one day, make Peggy Mitchell say 'its on the 'ouse'. Don't ask me why, I just do.
So, after a few more glasses of wine, I ditched the 'heat' idea, and went over to introduce myself. I outlined my situation and ambition, but was stunned when Phil said in his best cockney RSC voice "Do you mean it's on the House?" (with a very big H). His friends (who I'm sure were really extras from The Arches) didn't even glance up. He asked for my number and said he'd call the next day. I left my card and went back to my friends.
Funily enough, he still hasn't phoned..

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wuthering Heights

Sitting in a house, alone with a storm raging whilst re-reading Wuthering Heights has been quite an experience.
I haven't got as far through it as I thought I would. Partly because yesterday I started and finished my first Mills and Boon. Why? Why, because they are one of the few publishing houses to edit and pay a good advance. I learnt this on a Mills and Boon course that I went on years ago (so I hope that this information still stands). I've no qualms about devising a good pseudynom and taking the money whilst focusing on 'bigger' projects of a more 'intellectual' nature.
It took two hours and one box of chocolates to finish it and left me thinking that I probably could write one, but am not quite sure if I want to. Not from any intellectual snobbery but simply because I'm sure I'd just put in too many twists and complications to fit the formula and would be a bit lost without doing so.
Think I'll read some more to make my mind up. They do last a little bit longer than "Heat".
Quite a contrast to Wuthering Heights. After reading it twelve years ago, I've always cited it as one of my favourite books. I still love it, but am amazed how much longer it takes to read than contemporary fiction. Alongside the M&B I've read half a novel too (Demo by Alison Miller). It can't just be the language, somehow it just seems to command more time from me as a reader. Is it because of greater depth of plot or narrative or of character? I don't know and the thought just won't leave me now.
Last time I read it, whilst an under grad, I got serious concussion. This time I find myself alone in the country, with only two small kittens for company and a full Cornish gale raging outside. How perfectly gothic. It does seem to somehow add to the effect though. I do still love it, someone told me the other day that they hated it and that if Cathy and Heathcliff had ever lived together 'it would never have lasted'.
I don't see it that way at all, the whole novel seems to me driven by just how screwed up and unhappy we can get if we don't take risks and chances in life. It's a testimony to never leaving a big 'what if'.
Perhaps I should write for Mills and Boon after all.