I really like Marjon’s Magazine, both old and the newer issues. Flipping through them, I found an article called ‘Sharpes’ Progress’ written by Bernard Cornwell. Cornwell is an author best known for his series of historical fiction featuring Richard Sharpe as the main hero. Cornwell was, of course, a Marjon student and he graduated in 1967. As Bernard Wiggins he used to write for Cremone Review, which was at one point another Marjon’s publication intended as a ’literary platform for student expression’.
In ‘Sharpe’s Progress’ he writes about how he got to be a published author. This immediately caught my interest as I aspire to be one myself. I was constantly giggling as I read of his exploits: his discovery that he hated teaching children, about the way he lied his way into BBC, how he decided to become a writer while living illegally in the USA. I couldn’t help but feel the admiration both for his wit and his gall. But as a writer, I was also very interested in what he had to say about the craft itself. He feels that the role of a writer is one of a storyteller, a view that I share. However, to my surprise, he is the only writer I’ve ever known that does not believe in the ‘writer’s block’. He believes that it is ‘a height of arrogance’. ‘Nurses cannot have a ‘block’, and I doubt any school would be sympathetic if a teacher telephoned to say they would be absent for a few days because they were ‘blocked’. I think that in fact, the ‘writer’s block’ might become a convenient excuse, for some at least.
As for myself, I admit that I have never read any of his books, but that is something I intend to rectify. Now I am curious about his books, not only because he is a former Marjon’s student, but also because he had that kind of success I would like for myself.