I was talking to someone the other day who said she couldn’t imagine settling down to write a book. It sounded incredibly difficult. I wasn’t sure how to answer. It is. Yes. But it’s a huge pleasure too.
I answered vaguely along those lines but was surprised to hear that she wanted to know which were the difficult bits. We talked for a few moments and then became engrossed in more immediate things. She was going to try a short story. I am looking forward to reading it.
I confess that on my Christmas wish list is a mug with ‘Please do not annoy a writer she may put you in a book and kill you.’ But it isn’t true of course. The more I am grasping the complexity of the writing craft the more I realise that at best we tell a story, with clarity and integrity. The story has numerous points of reference but few will have much to do with my own life beyond my capacity to listen, empathise and imagine or not. That can be a very valuable insight too.
We all create differently.
I write to remember; to record a sense of something that might otherwise be lost in the maelstrom of my busyness. I look to people who swim against the tide; who challenge my thinking. I look at why people act as they do. What motivates us to violence or to stay angry and negative.
I make no apologies for searching at the edges. For me those with the power, the money, the influence, I’ve heard enough. They contribute remarkably little to my work because they no longer know what it feels like to be out of kilter.
So no, I don’t write so much from experience as from feeling. Feeling is the taxonomy that keeps us all alive. If we want something badly enough…