So, as promised, the first post of the series, on the day it was promised. That bodes well …
I am so happy it’s Bill Condon, and this be why. I once (yes, only once) won an award as an unpublished writer, and part of the deal was that I got to attend a big industry dinner. I was eight months pregnant, heartily regretting my decision to wear sequins – especially when I had to stand in front of everybody to receive the award – and got very shy and said no when asked if I wanted to be introduced to the “Authors”, seated around the back tables in a loud and noisy pack. (I know now that in fact they are not scary, and can also say with some certainty that they were all probably half-cut ;))
Anyway, one person went out of his way to come and have a chat, ask me about my writing, and just generally be really encouraging and welcoming, and I have never forgotten that act of kindness. Yes, it was Bill, and I bet a lot of people have got similar stories about his kindness. He is also, as it turns out, world champion of dad jokes, and can be found along with his wife, Di Bates, over at Enterprising Words.
Here’s a photo of Bill taken by Di (she says that’s what the inside of his head looks like):
And here’s Bill, responding to what was a very vague and half formed request from me:
I’ve just taken lots of photos of my desk and my book shelf and the view outside my window. I wish you could see them but they’re trapped inside my phone and I don’t know how to get them out.
I know there must be some old blokes around who understand cameras and mobile phones and the mysteries of the computer, but I’m not one of them. So you’ll just have to take my word for it. They are very good photos. Brilliant! Amazing!
Well, to be honest, you’re not missing out on a lot. My desk looks like it’s been ransacked by Hagar the Horrible. I clean it up without fail every year or so but Hagar just slips back and ransacks it again. I figure I’m okay if I can find the computer, and most days I can.
Now to the purpose of this blog, which, I think, is for writers to talk about the things that make the magic happen.
Oh how I wish there were such nifty creatures. All I have to inspire me is my wife Di standing over me with a cow prod. That’s usually enough.
Let’s see . . . what else spurs me on to write? Hmm, I’d say the fear of death has to be right up there. When I was young I used to look at the dates when writers wrote their great books. I’d giggle as I looked at the numbers – Forty! Fifty! – and tell myself I had oodles of time to write my biggie. Now I’m sixty-five and I’ve stopped looking at the numbers.
I do have lots of writing-ish books on my shelf which at times provide solace, if not actually a recipe for magic-making. One of my favourites to dip into is Silences, by Tillie Olsen. What writer couldn’t feel better about their own sorry plight after reading these words from Herman Melville?
‘I sit down religiously every morning. I sit down for eight hours and the sitting down is all. In the course of that working day of eight hours I write three sentences which I erase before leaving the table in despair. Sometimes it takes all my resolution and power of self control to refrain from butting my head against the wall . . . ’
I know where you’re coming from Hermy. More