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, 13 March 2012


I was going to write a blog about confessional literature - in the wake of the controversy over Rachel Cusk's book, but in the end events took over and the affair is no longer topical. I suppose what I would have said is that for me fiction writing is about creating something new, and that my writing is as distinct a part of myself as any other work would be - teaching, medicine or administration. Of course I use material from life in my writing, but it's a transforming process, I hope.

I hung about on the edge of re-reading Middlemarch rather as if I was deciding whether or not to take a dip on a cold-ish day. Do I have enough time? Wouldn't I be better reading something new. I think the answer is, I do have time. I'm fifty pages in and of course I see in it now so much that I missed when I was twenty when I remember consuming the book in great, greedy chunks. Her writing, at least about Casaubon is so sly, and about Dorothea so raw, that almost every line is a lesson on how to explore human nature.

What that book has, is a sense that all the characters are absolutely three dimensional, and that there is all of life going on beyond the pages. So few books have that wonderful richness that the reader is engaged with available cell.

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