Posted in Books, Christmas and New Year, Writing


It’s getting colder but the gas fire is off and I don’t have the central heating on much. I feel I’m saving energy, and am warm enough with the cats and a blanket. Won’t be staying in this room for long, though, as the desk feels like ice under my palms.

The word ‘jaded’ applies to me just now – I have very little taste for anything, including Christmas (which I normally love). I look around and wonder how anybody else can bear it. All the cars and swimming pools and snooker tables and expensive toys and other such things… where do we get the energy?

I did brighten up a little last night when I watched the last part of a interview of Iain M Banks, science fiction writer. I read one of his books some years ago and wasn’t keen, but I can’t remember what it was. In the interview, he said he knows that some writers don’t like writing much, even though what they write is very good, but he doesn’t see the point of writing if you don’t enjoy it. I understand what he’s saying, but I think even if you’re the kind of writer who finds it a chore, there’s still a strong impulse to write. Life would be a lot emptier without it. Perhaps it’s not the writing that’s hard – more the structuring and planning. I mentioned it to Mum today, and she said exactly the same thing – “it’s not the writing; it’s the coming up with a good plot.”

Something the novelist said was that if he starts putting his point of view down on paper, he’ll sometimes find himself changing his mind even as he writes. It won’t be a total about-face, but he will be in the process of reconsidering aspects of his thoughts. I do that as well – I’ve deleted things I was trying to write because I’ve become less certain. I’ve probably written things in the past I don’t agree with now.

The world is so grey. We grow up thinking there’s only one correct answer for everything; that there is only one acceptable way to live; that there is always a right and always a wrong. Sometimes I find myself wondering… if there were terrible events and we were all wiped out, what would it really matter? In the settling dust there is peace. Nobody ranting and raving, or pointing fingers of blame.

Banks said something that pushed my gloom back into the shadows a little. He said we must write for ourselves and for close friends and family – not for anybody else. All of a sudden I remembered a night years ago: myself sitting up in bed, writing a short story, a very light one, and enjoying every minute of it; sheets of paper flying around the room. It wasn’t even bed – I was sleeping on my sofa at the time because work was being done in the bedroom, but it was fun – an adventure; a new take on life. That’s the spirit I need to get back to – I felt more like ME that night than I do now. I don’t know if I can ever get back to it, but now I’ve remembered what it felt like, maybe…

Edit Feb 2008: Comments to this post when it was hosted on Blogigo:

falcon82 wrote at Nov 16, 2006 at 12:12:
Just let the snow fall on your branches and as the weight increases to a point where it will all fall off and you will be spring again

Katie wrote at Nov 16, 2006 at 12:32:
My mother, an artist and architect, always told me, “draw what you want to see,” which I take to mean, “write what you want to read, ” i.e., write for yourself, or as you have it, just for your loved ones. I write manuals for graduate students, but where I really shine is telling stories to my daughter any time we are walking or stuck in traffic. I just start with a ridiculous sentence and go from there, weaving in bits of history and fantasy and making up stories about the ancient monuments around us here in Istanbul, a terrible romantic city with little written history – so we make our own. Sometimes I have her add sentences and paragraphs and we alternate details. These are the most fun, and I daresay some of the best memories we will have of walking through this ancient city together.



I live in the UK with two cats -- Samson and Delilah.

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