Anguish and writing

Thinking about the things I want to write, I realise I need to focus on what interests me most: but what is that?  Lots of stuff is interesting to me, and I’m always coming up with ideas, but finding something really compelling is quite difficult it seems.  I was reading bits and pieces from some RSS feeds I subscribe to, mainly the New York Times, The New Yorker and The Guardian books sections, and stumbled across an article about Alexei Sayle, the British comedian who apparently invented what’s deemed ‘alternative’ comedy (I guess The Young Ones is classed as ‘alternative’, to give you an idea).  He’s just released his memoirs, Stalin Ate My Homework, which talks about his childhood and what sounds like a pretty extraordinary upbringing with die-hard commie parents.  Way to create passion,  I say!  There’s no doubt this clever kid, growing up when he did, and where he did, surrounded by who he was born to could have been anything other than pretty bloody intensely passionate.  I wonder, was it pretty clear to Alexei what his life was about, because of these extreme influences?

I looked up some stuff about Nick Hornby, as I like his style and he seems like a ‘real’ person (not like some authors who are either disembodied voices or too clever to be real).  He seems like he used to be a regular person at one stage, who just happened to be astute enough to find his way to awesomeness.  I need to know his secret.  I think I like that he has no airs and graces and just does his thing which happens to be great.  He got to write book reviews for a living – damn it, that’s what I want to do!  But where do you begin with all this?  Oh shit, actually it’s too late, I should have begun a long time ago, I’m 32 years old, too old to be beginning surely!  Or maybe, just maybe, I’ve already begun.  Maybe when I wrote all that stuff as a kid, maybe that was my beginning.  Maybe I’ve been on this literary journey for a long time… but that’s even scarier.

I now realise I’m kind of angry that, despite the obvious talent, no one in my family has shown themselves worthy or produced anything real.  Even my dad’s book, which he is still writing, was meant to have happened already – ‘end of June’, he said… yeah.  And then I’m scared I’m destined for the same fate. I can feel it slipping through my fingers and it’s all my fault.  We seem to write invisible things in my family.  Granddad’s book did exist, at one stage, I know it did, because I saw it; or at least I saw a thick stack of paper with typewriter words on each sheet; or the top sheet at least.  I saw my granddad two-finger typing on that old typewriter from the Salvo’s.  And I know he got that computer working, because he insisted on saving everything to floppy disks, having no understanding of a computer’s internal memory.  What about nany’s writing?  Again, invisible.  She apparently published an article posthumously, in a women’s magazine of some sort, but I’ve never seen it, just heard about it.  So it’s all invisible, our writing.  Where is my writing, for that matter?  I have some, I’ve written a lot, and I always refer back to having written 12,000 words in a night; yeah, 12,000 shit words, mainly because they were written in one single night because I couldn’t get my act together during the six months I had to write them and actually produce some quality!  But I love writing, don’t I?  It’s what I want to do. I want to do my masters in writing.  Shit, now that really IS scary!

Having a baby is a great excuse not to do stuff, yeah, and truthfully there aren’t many moments when I get a chance to sit down and write like I am now.  He’s asleep, strapped to me, and it’s been about an hour and a half, so who knows, he could wake at any moment.  And by using this time to walk to the coffee shop for a decent coffee and then sit down and write for half an hour, I’m neglecting other stuff, like darning my husband’s rugby socks, doing the loads of washing piling up in the bedroom, finishing the edges of the baby’s cot blanket, starting to piece together his cot quilt, fixing the hole in my  husband’s nice work shirt, reading the wonderful Wolf Hall that I’ve been trying to get through since I went into labour over three months ago…

My brain works so mysteriously; it tricks me.  It makes me think that if things were different in my life, if I didn’t live in shitty Sydney, if I had a kick arse work-at-home job writing or editing a few days a week, if I were thinner and happy with my body, or even if I didn’t have a baby, then I’d be this great writer.  I’d be able to sit down and focus on all my ideas, one at a time, and churn out these brilliant books that are stuck inside me.  It’s an utter lie, of course, as Blackadder would say.  If I’m supposed to do it, I’ll do it.  So perhaps I’m not meant to do it at all.  Perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree.  And there you have it, my brain, the neurotic freakazoid pile of pointless grey matter.  I’m off to read more before I really get depressed…


Author: curiosikat

Writer, editor, linguist, social historian...

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