When young, I wanted to be a writer. I was wrong, you shouldn’t want to be something, you should want to do something. I was nine years old mentally, possibly older physically. I visualised myself with a grey beard wearing a quilted smoking jacket, wonderful words flowing from my quill pen, a silver topped inkwell on the desk in front of me, a respectful manservant standing at my shoulder bearing a tray with coffee cup and pot, awaiting my laying down my pen. This never happened, I never grew a beard.
I thought you had to know everything to be a writer. I read Sherlock Holmes, with scenes in an embassy, a European princess as a character and various types of horse drawn carriages with mysterious names. Therefore, says I, a writer must know all there is to know about the diplomatic service and royal family trees as well as having extensive knowledge of every known type of horse drawn conveyance. We can but dream. Knowing everything would come later. Nine year olds have little or no knowledge of contemporary phenomena, as today, quantum mechanics.
In later life, still young, I read that a writer has to find his voice. Why did he lose it? His voice means his own everyday voice, his words, words understood by him or her. Female examples are Edna O’Brien and Colette, writers and women, women have more than one string to their bow. Men ditto.
On a still later occasion, also young, I read that a writer must have something to say. This flummoxed me. What have I to say, I thought. Nothing. The dream of writing, though suppressed, had not entirely died. I simply thought writers are born, not made, and I am not so born. The wish persisted, as some wished to be Elvis Presley.
Later on I became a journalist. Journalism is craft, not art, a person cannot let their imagination run riot when reporting court cases and council meetings. That was easy peasy. But not the real thing. Still, it was fun. Good while it lasted.
Novels may be described as true to life. It has also been said only in art can one tell the truth. Itchy fingered litigants are ever ready to pounce on people who tell the truth. Ask an honest lawman how hard it is to get a good case against a clever gangster. They know, they can’t prove. Check the Costa Del Crime. To take one example.
As you can see, I have rambled. I became a writer by accident. So are great discoveries made. My writing is a well kept secret. Undiscovered and largely undiscoverable. A fact I intend to remedy, when I get around to it. I am an accident waiting to happen. An unmechanical marvel.
What did you expect? Not too much, I hope.
This is all for now.
8th April, 2016