January 2008

On the home run of a novel called DreamTown. Then will come the awful moment of sitting back and thinking “Is it any good?” which is more important than wondering if anyone will take it up. I’m still excited about it, and a few of the characters continue to surprise me by going places I hadn’t intended. I almost don’t want to finish it because a hole opens up, like the panic of finishing reading a good book and wondering what to do next. Harold Pinter said that “good writing makes life worthwhile” and when you feel it’s going well, and that you are becoming manifest in your work, then it becomes true. When I was seventeen I read a poem by Ted Hughes called “Thistles” and immediately thought “This is where I want to live.” That feeling of finding bits of yourself in the arrangement and music of words has never gone away. It’s not a hobby, it’s not even a vocation, it’s a necessity. The crisis of failure hits most writers and all it means is that you must re-position yourself in relation to your work. Success is always provisional, relative and to be viewed with suspicion.

Television drama continues its weary tramp into 2008 with a pot pourri of repeats, predictable series and cardboard characters. Every few years I hear that “It’s all going to change” and all that changes are the people who say it’s going to change.

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