Thursday, 14 October 2010

Between Jobs

   I'm currently between teaching jobs and, while job-hunting in an unfavourable climate and waiting for a new CRB to come through, trying to knuckle down and make the most of this long-awaited opportunity for writing,editing and sending work out.
    It would be wonderful to make a living from writing, but I certainly don't seem to be one of these 'professional authors' who can knock out 1000 lines a day before lunch (even Martin Amis in Money mentions writing every morning between 7 and 12, then reading the rest of the day) . When the work is progressing well, you hardly notice time passing and the days seem remarkably brief and full. But on other, more restless occasions the physical inactivity of writing, as well as the prolonged retreat into your own mental cloister it involves, can leave you curiously at odds with social reality and - by its standards - often dissatisfied at the intangibility and perhaps purely subjective appeal of what little you've achieved.  And then at the same time of course there's the distracting, dispiriting question of "marketing", of viewing your work with an eye to it's possible commodity-value...
   Coleridge: "With no other privilege than that of sympathy and sincere good wishes, I would address an affectionate exhortation to the youthful literati grounded on my own experience( ): never pursue literature as a trade...Three hours of leisure, unannoyed by any alien anxiety and looked forward to with delight as a change and recreation, will suffice to realise in literature a larger product of what is truly genial than weeks of compulsion. Money and immediate reputation form only an arbitrary and accidental end of literary labour." (Biographia Literaria, XI)
    Mark E Smith: "If it wasn't for The Fall, I'd be at home right now trying to motivate myself to write, but probably doing every other thing possible not to write. Fucking around with this and that. Going to the pub. Watching TV. It's that old writer's dilemma." (Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E Smith) 
    (Or in my case, looking up old music videos:)                                   


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