new short story collection. Out now!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Writing and Other Near Death Experiences

I nearly died today. Again. I nearly died 6 years ago or so doing the same thing as I was today. Home renovations. Specifically installing a ceiling in a room. Holding a sheet of plasterboard above your head for any period of time, let alone five solid minutes, is enough to cause the only pain I have ever experienced which comes close to the intensity of having a needle stuck in my nostril to lance a cyst which had taken up residence there. But I digress.

The only thing I like about home renovations is that I get to spend time with my dad. He loves this stuff and he's pretty damn good at it. He'll take on anything. Any job big or small. I can't see the point. Maybe you save some money, and sure there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be had at the completion of a D.I.Y undertaking, but seriously, it is the epitome of agony, and frustration. Apart from nearly dying, I dropped one of my hammers down a wall cavity, left my mobile phone inside the new ceiling, and watched as water streamed in across the floor of the living room that we are renovating. The rain hammered down for most of the day and some of it found its way inside our house. I just shook my head and asked the obvious question, 'why the hell do I bother?'

stock photo : Once upon a timeSome would wonder how on earth I could write a book. Hour after lonely hour banging away on the keyboard. Week after week, month after month, labouring to get the words from inside your head onto the page. Then the rewrite, then more editing, followed by more editing. Publish? Sure, eventually. The anxiety and unfun exertions of marketing. The rejections. The anonymity. The prison of obscurity alleviated sporadically by little bursts of sunshine. I'm in the newspaper today: a feature article with a nice photo of me in the books section. People may buy my book, Loathe Your Neighbor, as a result of reading the article. They may not.

stock photo : Portrait of screaming surprised man holding headI should have been celebrating this marketing coup instead of torturing myself with plasterbard and power tools. To be a writer is to die continually, metaphorically speaking of course but I love writing. That's why I endure: the setbacks, the loneliness, the rejection. That's why I press on. I love it. Home renovations? I must be insane. I am insane.