Saturday, March 04, 2017

Other people's lives

Twenty years ago, when I was still calling myself a research psychologist, I used to read about writers' lives in the papers. There was one regular column where writers described their typical day. I was fascinated. If I became a writer, perhaps I could have a life like theirs...

Now I do call myself a writer, and know what my own life is like - messy - I don't pay much attention to that kind of article, unless I like the writer's work. Today, for example, Elizabeth Strout is in the Guardian Review writing about her working day. I just read her piece about how she writes a novel, and was intrigued.

These days I am more fascinated by the lives of artists and illustrators. I'm trying to work out why that is. I need an illustrator for my children's books and am not sure how to find one. That's one thing, but is probably irrelevant. Another thing is that I love children's picture books and enjoy the illustrations as well as the stories - e.g. those by Shirley Hughes, Alex Scheffler, Quentin Blake, Janet Ahlberg, Judith Kerr, Oliver Jeffers, Leo Lionni and more. I like to see photographs of them at their drawing boards with all those lovely art materials at their sides. 

I am in awe of their work. I would love to have a life full of art and colour.

I have been very bad-tempered for the last two weeks, snarling and swearing under my breath, difficult to live with.  I don't think this is rare for writers whose work is not progressing as they would like.  Yesterday I had the house to myself for nine precious hours. This is rare these days. I had a long to-do list and crossed off all but one item on it, as well as making lemon curd. But the reason I'm happy today is that I got some writing done. Meaningful writing.

Maybe the Guardian Review should have a column called "Living with a writer." Poor Dave.

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