Is this you in the photograph? Big, hulking, alone among others, a little menacing?
Writing is an hermetic act. Only other writers understand this. It can be seen as purely selfish . “You are wrapped in yourself,” I have been told more than once. “Bloated with your own self-importance.” Non-writers feel cut off, shut out, alone, forever outsiders. I do not know the answer to this, except to share what we write with our loved ones and hope they do not get envious or jealous of our special gift. Or perhaps it is better not to share, to beat others over the head with our little creations.
Perhaps it is better for writers to pair up with writers, like Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath though we all know what a disaster that turned out to be though I am sure there have been happy unions.
*what do you think?
* this post was inspired by Carolyn Cordon’s most recent post
There’s only one way to live in the world —and that’s to stay alert, interested.
So I couldn’t help but notice the reader in the pub sitting at ‘our table’, vigorously engaged in his book. He was dipping into it with his biro, busily marking passages, totally oblivious to his surroundings, And he never had a drink in front of him.
I went over to him.
Hello, I said, I’m a fellow reader. I just have to ask what book it is that’s got you so enthralled?
Ah, he said. Let me allay your curiosity.
And then he showed me.
Christ, I said, it’s a bit crumpled. Like it’s fallen in water.
It’s a well worn book, helaughed. And Christ is right. Look at the title.
I did but I could barely read it. Can I take a shot? I say, to show my mate in the wheelchair.
Of course, he said.
Is it fiction? I asked.
No, it’s factual,well researched, about the devilish goings on in the Papacy and in the clergy in general. Terrible things went on. When my friends bring up religion I whip out my book and quote passages from it.
But it’s condition?
Ahh, he said, I read it in the bath and sometimes it’s fallen in. And sometimes it’s been left in the rain and I have read it a few times. It’s an old book. It was battered when I bought it. Would you like to borrow it when I finish?
Awfully nice of you, I said, but I might give it a miss. Too much else on my plate. Are you by any chance an old Catholic boy?