Feeling nostalgic. It’s taken 3 weeks to absorb where I’ve been and what it meant. We were there for the state of mind that engenders writing, though other things happened and other things came and were observed and recorded.
I’ll begin with an excerpt I found on the blog of my friend Marianne called Kanlaon on the subject of continuing in the midst of feeling somewhat lost. I hope she doesn’t mind. I open Kanlaon whenever I’m in need of a lift.
To be a writer is to be a focused skiver.
It’s not that it isn’t hard work. Ask anyone stuck arse-about-face-halfway through the long tube of a novel, hauling mechanical bits and sprockets, both start and finish mere pinholes of light at either end, whether or not it feels like a nap. The skiving comes elsewhere. It is attitudinal.
An artist must live at one step removed from everyone else, curiously observing the ebb and flow around them. You have to be close enough to empathise with society, and yet not be consumed by it entirely – Mortgage! Career! Keep the profits coming! Work! Work! – and watch your soul disappear into the office shredder.
–From the introduction to New Scottish Writing 28, eds. Alan Bissett and and Carl McDougall