Good Reading : April 2005
20 goodreading teaching and jour nalism and then met a lovely man and that worked out well, and then I started writing fiction and that worked out terribly well, too.’ But there are some things in her life Maeve wishes would have been different. ‘My parents died when I was in my twenties. I would have liked them to be around a lot longer. They would have been proud to see how well their children have done. But my memory of my parents is very strong. And that’s what’s important. And Gordon and I didn’t have children. I would have loved children. And my health hasn’t been very great. [Maeve suffers from osteoarthritis and had a hip replacement some years ago.] But these things aren’t important in the end.’ What is important to Maeve is her writing. The words ‘writer’s block’ are totally unknown to her. ‘I’ve got so many ideas for novels and short stories, I’ve even got ideas for other people if they can’t think of anything to write,’ she laughs. And she’s got plenty to laugh about. Her novel Tara Road is being made into a movie, to be in cinemas in the second half of this year. Her excitement is palpable when she tells me that she’ll have a walk-on part with Gordon. ‘We are going into a restaurant and have to be dressed up. We’ll be a middle-aged couple sitting at a table, witnessing a row next to us.’ After her novel Circle of Friends was so successfully adapted to the big screen, Maeve holds the same high hopes for Tara Road. A life so richly lived naturally begs to be put down on paper for posterity. And there was indeed talk of an autobiography during our last luncheon by Sydney harbour. I haven’t heard anything more since then and I wonder if it is still on the cards? ‘I had an idea of putting a lot of the articles I’ve written over the last 30 years together because a lot of people have said to me, “Do you remember that marvellous article you wrote about such and such or the time you wrote about that?” And I thought, why not string them all together and tell the story of my life? I was all ready to start it, but then I read a few memoirs other people had written and they are so self-centred. I’m one of four children and I thought to myself, my two sisters and brother have a right to their own childhood memories rather than me interpreting it. Also, some of the articles I’ve written haven’t aged well. So I’ve put the book on the backburner.There’s plenty more to write.’ And she’s done just that. For starters, Maeve has just com- pleted a collection of short stories called Chestnut Street. ‘I won’t give it to the publishers yet,’ she’s quick to clarify. ‘You see, they’ll want to publish it, and I want to tinker with it a bit more,’ she chuckles. ‘I’m also working on a series of monologues I hope to do for television, where people are talking to the camera about their lives. I’ve already got plenty done.’ There is rarely an idle moment in Maeve’s life. She strongly believes that the daylight hours are there to be filled with doing useful things – in Maeve’s case, writing. A strong self- disciplinarian, Maeve gets up at seven each day, has a quick author profile The words ‘writer’s block’ are totally unknown to her. ‘I’ve got so many ideas for novels and short stories, I’ve even got ideas for other people if they can’t think of anything to write,’ she laughs.