Saturday, February 28, 2009

There's no life like it

A.L. Kennedy on the writing life:
But I do try to tell other people what it will come to – hence my occasional visits to Warwick University and its creative writing students. They want to write, they have application and vigour, they've all come on since I read them last and yet ... it would be unfair not to remind them of how horrible their futures may become. If they're unsuccessful, they'll be clattering through a global Depression with a skill no one requires, a writing demon gnawing at their spine to be expressed and a delicately-nurtured sensitivity that will only make their predicaments seem worse – and yet somehow of no interest to anyone else. If they're successful, they still may not make a living, will travel more than a drug mule, may be so emotionally preoccupied that they fail to notice entire relationships, will have to deal with media demands no sane person would want to understand and may well wear far too much black.
Writers always overdo the self-pity bit – I try to keep in mind Mordecai Richler's frequent admonition that we volunteered, and weren't drafted. But given that I am currently re-immersing myself in a novel-in-progress (which is a little like lowering yourself into a pond full of stagnant water in March at six in the morning while wearing clothes made entirely out of wool), I'm in a particularly "I can't go on, I'll go on" kind of mood.

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