Monday, 17 October 2011

On Writing and Libraries

I’m a little quiet just at the moment.  Not in a down, depressed and nothing to say kind of way.

Oh no! 

I’m quiet in an ohmigodohmigod, I must keep writing because I need to meet my deadline kind of way. 

And that is a marvy, cheery and totes lush feeling to have.  And also a bit of a leery-sceery one too.

[Apologies for the 40 year old person speaking in a totally teen-tastic and worryingly word-up way but… um… I’m very much a method writer, you see, and it’s proper hard to shake.]Because writing is pretty much what makes me tick.  I don’t know why.  It’s a fairly odd and mysterious business.  I don’t even know exactly how those novels appear.  Other than with a lot of thought-control and hours and hours of frowning at a screen and a very critical eye.  But once that ‘special idea’ has registered, the words start coming.  And this is such a relief that I’m more than happy to sit up until three in the morning and just roll with it.  I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.  In fact, I’m doing it now.  For some reason, my brain works better at night.  My house is all silent, my mug is full of rocket-fuel and my head is totally, totally focussed - something I struggle to achieve during the day - when there’s light coming through the window and a bunny hopping about outside and a shop around the corner which sells Pringles and Diagnosis Murder on the telly.   

So here I am typing while the world sleeps and I can’t tell you anything much about what I’m working on right now but I can tell you this.  I’m really into it.  And I’m writing stuff which is making me do a little secret smirk now and again.  Even though it’s blatantly bad form to smirk at your own jokes.  But, hey, I’m being truthful.  And then yesterday, I had one of those weird moments where I made myself smirk and then, half a page later, realised that I’d made myself feel so sad for somebody who doesn’t actually exist that my eyes were leaking.  And if laughing at your own jokes is bad – moving yourself to tears is just plain wrong.

Except that it’s not really me that’s doing it, is it?  Because anyone who writes fiction will know what I mean when I say the weird creative pixies take over and the characters start writing themselves.

Having said that, it’s still brain-knackering, so I wish they’d hurry up and finish the job.

Before I shuffle off for a rocket-fuel refill, I just want to say a few words about Kensal Rise Library.  It closed today.  It was in a lovely old Victorian building and has been providing a local service to the people in that part of NW10 since Mark Twain opened it in 1900.  I read with a real sense of sadness that the local community came out to protest and shouted ‘Save Kensal Rise Library’ as workmen nailed boards over the door and windows.  For a couple of years in the late 1990s, I’d have been one of those people in the crowd.  I lived just around the corner in Buchanan Gardens and often went to that little library – largely to use a computer as I didn’t have my own.  Back then, with a student loan to pay off, rent and bills to find, a Zones 1-4 monthly travelcard to purchase and a newly qualified teacher’s salary, a computer was beyond my means.  Kensal Rise Library helped me out.  Sadly, it won’t be helping anyone else out.  Many more libraries in Brent are scheduled to close.  This is terrible, awful and shocking.  Our Prime Minister says a lot about this thing called the Big Society.  What I want to know is this:

How can we have a happy, fair and functioning Big Society if we take away the institutions which are the life-blood of our lovely little communities?

1 comment:

  1. I agree wholeheartedly with the above comments regarding the closure of local libraries. If libraries and book shops close and Colleges and Universities cut Creative Writing Courses, where will young people find the inspiration to write? I only hope that publishing houses are using their weight to fight this trend otherwise they may find themselves opening up their offices as coffee shops.