The rather wonderful Maeve Binchy died this week - and many, many people will have felt as if they lost a friend.
I loved her, not just for the spell-binding stories,
but for her humbleness. "I'm not insane," she is quoted as saying, "I realise I am a writer people buy to take on vacation." Oh dear me, no, dear Maeve, I beg to differ. There's many a Man Booker prize-winning novel I've read which hasn't
stirred me, involved me, or left me thinking as much as any one of your warm, funny, inspiring stories of ordinary people who lived lives much like ours - but writ larger because of your skill. "Everybody is a hero in their own story," she said once,
"You just have to look."
Her advice to aspiring authors is as sound as can be - write as if you are talking to someone. Don't try to impress. It makes it sound so easy, but anyone who has tried to
write like Maeve knows it isn't so.
Maeve Binchy and her husband, fellow author Gordon Snell, were not able to have children of their own. Her response was pure Maeve: "When we realised
we could not have children there were two ways to cope. We could mope - or borrow other people's." No guesses which path they took.
RIP Maeve Binchy. A true and honest