Well what do you know? Here is my SECOND regular blog feature: Monday mentors. Each week I’ll be writing up a little tribute to people I think are awesome. They are my collection of virtual mentors, people who remind me to try and do something GREAT in life.
First off the bat? Agatha Christie, who found me in a little Scottish seaside village and reminded me just how awesome she is.
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25 September 2012: Scotland’s north-west coast
Today I took a break from wrenching the gears on my 1976 VW campervan and stopped in at a little market in Poolewe (pronounced pool-you).
Look, I love supporting community events. I love towns with character and tradition and pride. So I feel a bit mean when I say… a good 90% of the stuff in there was filler. Sorry, Poolewe. Granted, I am the world’s most spartan shopper so I don’t ever indulge in knick-knacks of the local market variety. But luckily, that 10% of worthy goods contained fruit scones and a second hand book stall. Saved!
Unfortunately as I am backpacking I couldn’t justify buying the awesome hardback book about 3 scottish ladies who went to explore the Himalayas, or one of Gerald Durrell’s feel good wild animal story editions. But I did let myself pick up an Agatha Christie novel, an original bottle green Pengun paperback edition no less.
I love Agatha Christie. I love her because she invented Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. I love her because she’s clever and thinks up all these deviant little murder mystery plots. And I love her because she made her life her own. She married late, was financially independent, did work she loved, and had a fine old time prodding underneath exotic countries on archaeological digs with her husband.
The blurb on the back of the book also reveals to the cynical market shopper that she had a fabulous sense of humour. The blurb is basically the reason I bought the damn thing. What can I say, when a gal’s travelling alone through wild and woolly country, she needs a clever, comforting paperback or two.
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Agatha Christie says about her career as a writer: ‘It was my mother who told me to write. She was a woman of great charm and great character, and was always convinced that her children could do anything! I was in bed with a bad cold and she said, “You’d better write a short story. Nonsense, don’t say you can’t! Of course you can!”
‘For some years I enjoyed myself very much writing stories of unrelieved gloom where most of the characters died. Also a good deal of poetry and a novel with an impossible number of characters in it. Then I thought it would be fun to try and write a detective story. It was an exciting day when The Mysterious Affair at Styles was accepted and published. I was working as a dispenser at a Red Cross Hospital during the First World War when I wrote it.
‘I may spend three weeks to nine months in thinking up a plot – the actual time of writing and typing it would be approximately three months.’
Agatha Christie was born in Devonshire. And after a highly successful career when she was younger, she now agrees with the Chinese that ‘the years between 60 and 70 are some of the best in one’s life.’ She usually spends four months of every year on archaeological expeditions with her husband, and still contrives to remain the most successful writer in her genre.
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Love your work Ags xx