I’m writing a book. I said I’M WRITING A BOOK. What? you can’t hear me over the other 99.9% of the worlds population who are telling you the same thing?
It’s true. The only person currently not writing a book is a withered old tribesman in Papua New Guinea, and that is only because he is waiting for his laptop to get fixed. There’s a saying isn’t there, that ‘everyone has at least one story inside them’ – the question is, where do you keep it?
For a while I kept mine at the bottom of a bottle, or in my case can of super strength lager. It’s an old cliche but in my case at least it is also the truth. I wrote half cut – writing sober for me was like having sex sober – uncomfortable and unimaginative. Not to mention dry.
Ha, just kidding. I’m a fucking glorious shag.
I wrote drunk and got drunker as I went on, usually managing to crawl under my desk or into my bed before I passed out in the early hours of the morning. What a tortured artist! How delerious and tragic a figure I had become, just like all the greats! The only Great I was in danger of imitating was the Soprendo.
I was freewheeling endlessly, unable to string together a coherent framework or character, or work my way out of plotholes. That isn’t to say it was all shit. I once wrote a novel about a watch haunted by the Grim Reaper featuring voodoo, autism, pirates and an anthromorphisised smell – this was for adults, incidentally – which is still one of my favourite things I’ve ever created. I’m putting it out there as a graphic novel sometime in the future. Yeah, looking out for that one, right? Put that on your Christmas List.
But it IS a creation. Neil Gaiman once said
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”
No-one else has written the thing which you’re writing. There may be similar stories, under similar headings with endlessly recycled subject matter but no-one is writing it the way you might. You have just made something. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Sci-FI novel about break dancing leprechauns or a Chick Lit book in which the main character constantly fannys about deciding who she loves but in the end it turns out the man she chooses is actually a Ginsters pasty dressed up in a hat by her self conciously wacky friends. Bad choice, lady.
As an aside, I wouldn’t read that latter novel. Thinking about it, I wouldn’t read the former either.
I don’t subscribe to the idea that you give birth to this great creation – that it is something that you must be tortured under, sweating and vomiting blood at the pressure of it all – that doesn’t ring true for me and if its that much hard work give up and have a cup of tea for fucks sake. No-one likes a martyr. If I seem precious about it – and I am, in my reluctance to send it to be read by anyone, anywhere, ever – it’s because I can’t watch the flesh of it stripped away, the bones of the idea picked over like carrion.
Fuck that. I’ve too much heart for that, and so should you have.