On being a writer...

A celebration of the writing process, of being a writer, of all the weird things that pass through a writing brain...

Monday, 19 December 2011

The beauty of slow burning

I always get a little prickly when someone says: If I had a bit of time, I'd write a book. First, it feels like an encroachment on my territory - I never say, If I had a bit of time, I'd be a brain surgeon. Secondly, it feels like a covert attack on my own process of becoming a writer. It's taken decades. And I still don't think I'm there. Writing is a craft, and a very difficult one, I think, and like anything that requires skill and knowledge and experience, those fifty thousand hours are required.

I spent the weekend with a group of close friends and family celebrating my son's eighteenth birthday. I rejoiced, then, in joys of building and nurturing relationships. These people, who know me so well, warts and all, and whom in return I love as much are a symbol of all that really matters to me. Last night I went to sing carols with my theatre group - again, decades of belonging. As with community so with writing books. It takes time. And nurturing, and sometimes the sense that this digging deep and keeping faith is a replacement for something much more buzzy and exciting just round the corner. I'm constantly fighting the feeling that I should be doing something more pressing, more immediately effective, that will make more of a difference.

Part of the human condition, I suppose, never to be satisfied. To know that there'll always be someone else, or somewhere else, or something else that could have occupied that hour or year or lifetime. But I think, for now, as I sit at my very old desk (dining table inherited from a friend of my grandmother's), looking out at very old allotments, I'll settle for roots, and slow-burners.


  1. I am sorry that I am interrappted You, but I am so curious I canoot sleep...
    Will You write the next part of Rose of Sebastopol?? You know, You write ending in so ambiwalent way... I don't know in the end will Mariella forgive Henry, does she love him still, after emotional trade? How Henry could fell in love in 2 women in the same time... does he?!? but if yes whitch of these 2 he love more and why... does he regret what he sad and why he did it... why he write last letter in bokk like that??? it is not so simple to understand the future ending what will happend after they come back to London?
    How Henry behave in front of Mariella, does he forget of Rose and for him is relief that he died or is his love of live and he prefer not going back to fiance... ehy he lied all the time?? :( please write 2 part !!! just for me I beg You.. if You want write to me write back to my email adress martynas93@wp.pl

  2. katharine mcmahon2 January 2012 at 14:41

    How nice of you to write about The Rose.... There won't be a sequel, I'm afraid, but I can give you a few clues. I think that Henry was obsessed with Rosa, and therefore Mariella didn't matter so much to him. But I think Mariella, in the end will sail away with Max, and probably go to India with him because she'll never be able to settle in London again.