On life getting in the way of the next story

Not a lot of creative writing going on for me lately.

At my ‘real job’, I’ve been learning about complex medical procedures, various ailments and where anarchic commas hide. Lots of editing. Lots of work.

I jot down ideas for stories, or moments in stories, but rarely have time to add flesh to these bony fragments.

When I’m feeling fraudulent about still being an author, I have to remind myself that Five Parts Dead is less than 12 months old. Sure, there are other authors pumping out more than a book a year but circumstances mean I’m not one of them. To folks waiting for the next book, I’m sorry, it’s going to be a while.

That’s why this 2009 post from Neil Gaiman gives me some comfort. In answering a reader query about another author taking his time to write a much-anticipated sequel, Mr Gaiman said the following:

“And sometimes, and it’s as true of authors as it is of readers, you have a life. People in your world get sick or die. You fall in love, or out of love. You move house. Your aunt comes to stay. You agreed to give a talk half-way around the world five years ago, and suddenly you realise that that talk is due now. Your last book comes out and the critics vociferously hated it and now you simply don’t feel like writing another. Your cat learns to levitate and the matter must be properly documented and investigated. There are deer in the apple orchard. A thunderstorm fries your hard disk and fries the backup drive as well…

“And life is a good thing for a writer. It’s where we get our raw material, for a start. We quite like to stop and watch it.”

It’s true. I’ve had other stuff going on, although the cat now refuses to levitate while my head is turned in his direction.

And I’ve been watching life. Listening and wondering…

Does a masseur read the life stories written under their fingertips in the braille of tired and injured muscles?

Why do strangers always look at the floor in lifts? What if they didn’t?

And one day life will make space for the writing to flow again.

One thought on “On life getting in the way of the next story”

  1. I know why people stare at the floor of lifts…they are coveting and collecting shoe memories 🙂 Actually, that possibly not true for all of them, but you can learn a lot about a person from looking at their shoes and imagine the stories those shoes could tell…

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