About Tabitha

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Tabitha Suzuma is of Anglo-Japanese descent and was born in London, the eldest of five children. She attended a French school in the UK and grew up bilingual. However, she hated school and would sit at the back of the class and write stories. Aged 14, Tabitha left school against her parents' wishes. She got a job as an assistant dance teacher and also worked at a centre for children with Cerebral Palsy. She continued her education through distance learning and went on to study French Literature at King's College London. After graduating, Tabitha worked as a primary school teacher and wrote her first novel, A NOTE OF MADNESS, whilst teaching full-time. In 2004 Tabitha left classroom teaching and began to divide her time between writing and tutoring. This gave her time to write her next four novels: FROM WHERE I STAND - a psychological thriller. WITHOUT LOOKING BACK - about a family on the run. A VOICE IN THE DISTANCE - sequel to A NOTE OF MADNESS. And then her latest book, and most controversial and challenging book to date: FORBIDDEN, about consensual sibling incest: a brother and sister who fall in love. Tabitha is currently working on her sixth novel.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I wanted to be a writer, that's all...

"I wanted to be a writer, that's all. I wanted to write about it all. Everything that happens in a moment. The way those flowers looked when you carried them in your arms. This towel - how it smells, how it feels, this thread, all our feelings, yours and mine. The history of who we once were. Everything in the world. Everything all mixed up. Like it's all mixed up now. And I failed. I failed. No matter what you start with it ends up being so much less. Sheer fucking pride and stupidity." The Hours (film).

Ed Harris's short monologue is one that I identify with more than any other because it reflects exactly how I feel at the end of each book: even when it's been accepted by a great publishing house, even when it's out and being stocked on the shelves, even when I receive wonderful reader-mail, even when it wins prizes ... it's never quite enough.

To quote Michael Cunningham, author of the book, The Hours:
"Any decent novelist suffers from the sense that even if the finished book turned out well, you had something greater in mind. You've been walking around with this idea in your head which is the book that contains everything you know and can imagine. The book is going to change people's consciousness, if not the actual world. But of course, even if the book does turn out really well, it's still just a book. And it's impossible not to feel disappointed in it. Artists fail. We all fail. It's never as good as you know it could be. That's part of what keeps us at it and part of what occasionally sends one of us out the window."

I hope I don't fall into the latter category but I think I oscillate to greater or lesser degrees between both camps. I always want more. The last book is good but the next one has to be even better. I win one award but now I've got to win another. You get past one hurdle and then there's another and then another. At the end of the day, you're striving to be the best - but that's unattainable, there is no 'best'. So you're reaching for the impossible. That can fuel your fire but also, ultimately, destroy you.

www.tabithasuzuma.com

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, Tabitha! Enjoyed watching the video too. Your post made me remember the character Goldmund, in Hermann Hesse's 'Narcissus and Goldmund' who tries to put all his experiences into one statue he is sculpting and it always comes out imperfect. But then there comes a day, when the sculpture turns out perfect and then it the end of life as he knows it...I liked very much your observation about how writers try to strive for the best which is unattainable and how that has two sides to it - it made me think.

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  2. Perfection is a nonexistent standard, Tabitha, my friend.... I even wrote a poem about this subject. I'd love it if you took a look at "A world bettered" on this page, Tab - http://ruminidas.blogspot.com/p/poetry.html - (it's short, don't worry,) because the theme is very similar to what you're talking about here.

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  3. I just came here to say, you, Tabitha Suzuma, are an amazing writer! I do not know how you know how to describe things so well. Every books have made me cry so much and now I see the world so different way. I have to thank you so so much, because now I do know that it doesn't matter if I am different than others. It is okay to cry and be afraid. Plus, somehow I've learned about myself so many things and in happy way. :)
    (Sorry my poor english, because it is not my native language.. but I really tried, I really did.)

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  4. Hi Anonymous, many thanks for your kind comment - I'm so glad you enjoyed the books. Your English is great! :)

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  5. It's a very beautiful thought!
    I love writing from when I was a child, it's really beautiful how you can express yourself in a white page and at the same time excite other people!
    I'm reading now Forbidden, and I'm loving it! It's really heartfelt and real, it makes my heart cry, sometimes are tears of joy, sometimes of sadness and pain, but thus doesn't change the way I feel about it!
    It's really beautiful, thank you so much for writing it!

    Sorry because i didn't write you sooner, but I discovered your books just now (what a fool!)and sorry for my "not perfect English", but I'm Italian :)

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I look forward to reading your comments!