Indeed it is, and certainly not one to be taken too seriously.
Charlaine Harris, she of the True Blood novels, had it right yesterday on Radio 4 when she hooted with laughter and seemed to enjoy a certain heresy where the shanty-town misery and almost religious self-flagellation inflicted on their own creative psyches by some authors, are concerned.
R4 has been running these programmes about authorial endeavour of the fictional variety. There are those who believe a bout of depression is a necessity for words on paper, those who view fancy ‘inspiration’ as the only path to literary redemption and those who sound just plain suicidal (and I always thought poets to be the aristocracy of zero optimism!) .
A rare old mix, you must admit.
For myself, a story-teller who has never suffered ‘the dunnest smoke of hell’ (Macbeth, before the plagiarism cowboys start!) where clinical depression is concerned and indeed has never required ‘inspiration’ to turn out the odd yarn (God help me if I did, I probably wouldn’t write one word!), writing is just a self-indulgent business with a good few lumps of humour thrown in for good measure.
I’ve met a few writers along the way, and damn they can be dreary sorts, not all of course. Intense and full of self-important zeal and steam, some of ’em. Not the sort you would want to chase after Parisian harlots and rivers of pastis in Paris with, and that’s a fact.
I didn’t get into the scribbling game until I was fifty – following a bout of my very own unique egotistical insanity – so I had already done a good bit of living both good and bad. I hadn’t been intoxicated with futile ‘Creative Writing Course’ intellectual upheaval and neither had I any pre-conceptions about how to write the most perfect and extraordinarily intelligent novel – just as well!
I just got on with it.
I haven’t read any fiction for some twenty years by the way, which may be of interest to all you students aspiring to be the next Hemingway,mind you look what happened to him? I read an inordinate amount but non-fiction only, mostly history and politics.
And here’s the thing: I don’t write to hurt myself, I don’t write to impress and I don’t write to expose all my idiot neuroses, but I do write to have some fun now and again and hopefully bring some enjoyment to the odd reader or two.
I just don’t take it all too seriously, frankly it just isn’t worth it.
I enjoy a full and jolly life outside the closed and unnatural world of a computer screen and guess what?
I only know one writer, I really can’t imagine why?
PS I have a new novel out next April and there’s another one in the pot but I know one thing, as soon as it all starts to become a ‘real’ job then that’s it. I’m off.