Friday, 27 November 2015

Joan Didion

It's been so long since I wrote here that really I ought to be coming back with more to say.

Instead though, I am just coming to deposit this little gem from Joan Didion:

"Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing."

From another wonderful Paris Review interview. Love those interviews!

I'm two more work days away from having several months off to write. I absolutely cannot wait!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Whole years

Isn't it strange to think of the way that we reflect back on things. I was skyping with a friend last week - she was talking about the years it can take to write and publish a good book. That it's normal for this process to be slow. I think that she was being generous to lump me in as an element of this process, but still, it got me thinking. Often, when I hear about writing (or other creative and unplannable pursuits like comedy or drama), people talk about the times when things weren't working - sum them up in a sentence or two. But they were whole years of a person's life. Those's hard to know what they are when you're in them, and whether they're all you're ever going to get.

Also, I just started to read Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood. It's so good that almost every page is getting lipped up - both the style and the substance are good. That is so rare, and so wonderful.

This is the cover of the edition I'm reading:

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Just a place to park this

Nothing more today than something I want to be able to find easily in future:

“The ones who are not soul-mated – the ones who have settled – are even more dismissive of my singleness: It’s not that hard to find someone to marry, they say. No relationship is perfect, they say – they, who make do with dutiful sex and gassy bedtime rituals, who settle for TV as conversation, who believe that husbandly capitulation – yes, honey, okay, honey – is the same as concord. He’s doing what you tell him to do because he doesn’t care enough to argue, I think. Your petty demands simply make him feel superior, or resentful, and someday he will fuck his pretty, young coworker who asks nothing of him, and you will actually be shocked.

Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But who also kind of likes my bullshit.) And yet: Don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re always pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and ‘playfully’ scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about. Those awful if only relationships: This marriage would be great if only… and you sense the if only list is a lot longer than either of them realizes.

So I know I am right not to settle, but it doesn’t make me feel better as my friends pair off and I stay home on Friday night with a bottle of wine and make myself an extravagant meal and tell myself, This is perfect, as if I’m the one dating me. As I go to endless rounds of parties and bar nights, perfumed and sprayed and hopeful, rotating myself around the room like some dubious dessert. I go on dates with men who are nice and good-looking and smart – perfect-on-paper men who make me feel like I’m in a foreign land, trying to explain myself, trying to make myself known. Because isn’t that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood? He gets me. She gets me. Isn’t that the simple magic phrase?

So you suffer through the night with the perfect-on-paper man – the stutter of jokes misunderstood, the witty remarks lobbed and missed. Or maybe he understands that you’ve made a witty remark but, unsure of what to do with it, he holds it in his hand like some bit of conversational phlegm he will wipe away later. You spend another hour trying to find each other, to recognise each other, and you drink a little too much and try a little too hard. And you go home to a cold bed and think, That was fine. And your life is a long line of fine.”

(Gone Girl)