Saturday, January 24, 2009


Writing is an endeavor frequently misunderstood. I recently found a writing soulmate in British author Marie Phillips (whose novel, Gods Behaving Badly, is one of the funniest books I've read). In an interview, Phillips described how much her writing alienates her from the rest of the world. As she relates (paraphrased): My friends ask what I did and I respond, I was laying on the couch and thinking all day. I'm absolutely knackered. To which her friends will roll their eyes or dismiss the suggestion.

Phillips summed up exactly a writer's mind (at least in my own experience): distracted, out of this world, constantly and furiously at work. And this process saps your physical and mental strength. I spend hours upon hours wandering around (my house, the block, the river, Target) and bumping into things - I'm a flaneur but the gritty, not graceful, kind - as I think about my characters and their worlds. I feel what they feel, I anticipate their reactions to the problems they encounter.

And yes, I spend all day on the couch, whether writing or just thinking about writing. And after a day like that, I am utterly and genuinely knackered.

Thanks, Ms. Phillips.

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