6th January 2017
After a three week Christmas hiatus, the rewrite of my third book in the Veil of Time series is back up and running. There was a moment when I thought to do a Stephen King and push through the holidays as though nothing was happening. But the bottom line for me is that despite what writers often think, reading and writing are not a substitute for life. The arts, glorious though they be, come second and the world comes first. Too much near-sighted drivel has been written by authors who don't understand that their particular corner of the sky is only interesting in as much as it reflects the light of a bigger universe.
There has been a long tradition of hermit authors spending long periods in recluse, half in and half out of a bottle of strong drink. And so the romantic myth is promulgated. But first you have to tingle at real life, submit yourself to the barrage of the everyday, take it in, let your heart process it, and then inch it out in scrawls onto the page. A Child's Christmas in Wales resonates because every one has been that child with their nose pressed up against the toy shop window. Art only hums if it joins in the wider hum, and the individual hum is interesting in itself only to the hummer and to those fringers who cast value on oddities simply by virtue of their being odd.
Anyway, after three weeks away, I'm going to have to go back to the beginning of the text and restart the uphill plod. When I was an eager writer in my twenties, so much seemed to be waiting for me at the end of the publishing rainbow: all my debts would be paid off, fame and fortune would be lavished upon me, I would have carved out my piece of history. I would, in short, be vindicated. But these days, it's the small steps I focus on. I have lost some of that "If only," which I think must be a good thing. Even though my debts are deeper these days, I keep turning up at my desk for the next write and the next re-write, for the simple reason that I can do no other. Ich kann nicht anders.