Friday, 10 October 2014

Belzhar Blog Tour - The Role of the Journal in the Novel

As part of the Belzhar Blog Tour, I have a wonderful guest post from the author Meg Wolitzer, about the role of the journal in the novel.
A writer friend once said that he loves books in which other books, or letters, or at any rate the written word in some other context, appear.  The words “pop,” he explained, and I think he’s right.  You pay extra attention when you read a letter in a novel, or have a chance to read someone’s diary or the pages of a book-within-a-book.  When I came up with the idea of a journal that you could write in and be reunited with what you’ve lost, I liked that the journal entries had the chance to “pop,” and be given special significance, just as my friend described. 
In writing in her journal, my character Jam gets to be with her lost boyfriend Reeve all over again, even though he is gone forever.  I literally pictured the red leather journal, and what a personal, private, intense experience it would be for her to write in it.  What’s a little ironic is the fact that I myself have barely kept a journal or diary in my life.  I tried to write in one when I was young, but I got bored after a while and started leaving pages blank.  Then I felt guilty, and I went back and on all the blank pages I wrote, “NOTHING HAPPENED.”
I think that, for me, writing novels has taken the place of writing in a journal.  When I write, even though I am probably not writing about my own experience, I try to be as true to “life” (even just an imagining of someone else's life) as possible.  And I fill the pages with writing that feels as intimate and real as I possibly can. 
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Belzhar is published by Simon and Schuster in October 2014
Summary
If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be at home in New Jersey with her sweet British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing him in the library stacks.
She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.
But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.
Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.
To find out more about Meg Wolitzer:
Check out the previous posts on the blog tour.
BELZHAR Blog Tour new

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