Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Great oaks...

Right. This is big. These are the first few words of over a year's worth of research, travel and writing that lurks ahead. Probably nearer two. It begins. I'm committed...or perhaps should be.

In November 2007 I decided to write a book. Travel writing. Narrative non-fiction. How hard can it be? I thought. Actually I knew. Very hard. I'd read enough books and written enough rubbish to understand the sweat involved in being the other side of the words. I'd even enrolled on a writing course in Cornwall to test myself.

Years ago I watched a series of documentaries called Scribbling. Each week it followed a different author through their (usually) awful time trying to create, cajole and convince their minds, their agents and their readers into believing they could write something other people might like to read. A painful process. Not one anybody should envy. Isolating. Self-involved. Depressing.

Soon after that I decided I wanted to be an author. Then a 'writer' (it seemed broader). I loved writing. "Love writing? Become a writer." This could be a government slogan to increase the population of writers. Or to warn people off. After all, why would they want to encourage such a pursuit? Here's its equivalent health slogan: "Smoking - a leading cause of death".

"Love yourself and your ideas but suffer from moments of extreme self-doubt? Become a writer." That's better.

Anyway, now it's the end of 2008 and I'm still not a writer. I work in an IT company in my hometown. It's fine, but not quite the dream (remember, the painful one, with the depression). My writing created and cajoled but failed to convince; it helped cripple a happy four-year relationship; cut out friends; but - despite all this - gave me a deep buzz when it was flowing.

The calendar's about to flip over to yet another year and now I'm determined to turn the deep buzz of possibility into the sting of success. And with figurative language like that, how the hell could I fail?

The book? It's me. Late nights. Full-moons. Plenty of fascinating people who, for some reason or another, like living nocturnally. Slight nyctophobia mixed with a debilitating desire to sleep at night. And a torch-compass-whistle from a Christmas cracker.

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