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...

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


I spent the weekend back in Bristol, with the three women I met when I was 18 and we shared first rooms in a student house together, then a flat in Royal York Crescent. The flat was extremely chilly and run down, the crescent glorious.

We were saying how odd it was that we remembered so little of the views, but what we remembered most were feelings. It was like pressing a little button from time to time. Here, on the bridge, was where I came one night when I was feeling particularly displaced or lovelorn (and they asked me in the toll booth, if I was all right, because people who run panting up to the suspension bridge so often weren't). There, on that bench, was where one of us went to reflect glumly on the lack of a job. Here's where we revised in the sun, feeling so oppressed and as if exams would go on forever. This is the walk we took every day down to the library, in that odd, dreamlike state that comes when you have a whole day of study ahead (or not-study).

It is very strange to have a weekend so full of feeling and endless chat. And its what fuels the writing, I suspect, those very intense times, in which feelings old and new are so near the surface. It's what I aim for in my fiction, an intensity of emotion which draws the reader deeper and deeper inside the book.

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