T r e a d Softly... YOU MIGHT TRIP ON TEXT

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Job of a Writer

There's a piece of dialogue in my play Midnight Hotel where a writer's asked about his output. Trying to distract another character from the realisation that there's a ghost in the house, the writer talks fast and frantically about his job as a writer while all sorts of weird ghostly noises almost drown his voice. If the audience could hear what he was actually saying, then they'd have heard this: when he confesses he's a writer, people ask: Okay, and what do you DO? (Which is a common enough question as far as budding writers are concerned) "And then they look you up and down; you might as well be begging. Or in jail."

That part of the play is probably more real than fiction.

How does one explain the hours one is cloistered in his room, whipping up the imagination? And, of course, you can't always be expected to come up with something to show them, for God's sake!

I've been through this spate of interviews after Maria's Room, and everyone keeps marvelling at how many different things I'm working on. It's true: there are reviews, translations, a novel, a short story, and two other novels in the back-burner.

Problem is, there are so many days when nothing happens, and I face the night with a sigh. The fact that I'm sitting before the computer screen looking busy doesn't translate into copious outflow. Since there's no one to answer to (except for three deadly looking deadlines), I keep smiling and carrying on.

Ah, a writer's life's not so easy after all!