Saturday, November 08, 2008

Kath and Kim and Brent

Has anyone else noticed that the fly-on-the-wall camera technique of The Office is identical to that of Kath And Kim? Gods almighty, which came first?

Here's an insight into the writer's life for you: three triple-bourbon-and-diet-cokes into a writing session, trivia like the above obsesses you. Partly this is BBC2's fault, obviously - the small hours are a jungle of repeats and double-bills, surrealism from multiples of obscurity - but a lot of it stems from the writer's overriding instinct to do something else. Many authors report this condition, which at its most benign manifests as a sudden desire to do housework - hoovering the stair carpet is never quite so critical as during a difficult chapter - or baking, which is how it normally hits me.

Seriously. I live in a smallish room within a shared house which, while brimming with the kind of Spartan masculinity all men claim to be able to sustain as a lifestyle, leaves little actual dusting to do: not a problem for normal men, who just go out and get drunk, but a serious crisis for the novelist, who must find really quite abstract exercises in domesticity to offset the crippling lack of confidence that dogs all of us, even while writing quite good stuff.

And I am indeed writing quite good stuff. The Writing Class is progressing apace, aided by a week off work and a sizeable quantity of bourbon, but despite this (admittedly unmeasurable) success I find myself overtaken by an unreasonable need to bake rock cakes. This is something I do at every major pagan festival anyway, as the baking and distribution of sultana-laden cakery is regarded as a sacrament among my people (fuck me, 'my people' sounds so Star Trek), but there is something about writing that automatically triggers a nurturing instinct. Perhaps it is the oddlly paternal attitude writers take towards their readers, the sense that we are lighting the way (and, as we all know, all the lights that light the way are blinding)... It's not that we're better than ordinary humans, we just know more about certain things than they do. We know the hidden laws of story that truly govern all our lives, the laws of narrative.

We don't know why, nobody does bar selected gods, but we understand how.

In a coming novel I intend to examine this relationship between storytellers and the reality they affect, but for now I will say only this: NOTHING should be feared or adored more than a drunk writer. Really. You have no idea.

1 comment:

Kavey said...

Can I haz rock cake?