Friday, December 12, 2008

Why write when you could fritter your time away

Go on, be honest - how often have you said 'I'd love to write/paint/read/anything but I don't have the time.' And how often have you heard others say it, especially aspiring writers? You know as well as I do that it's bullshit. We all have the same twenty-four hours in every day, and we make time for anything we want. We just don't bother, and we hide behind this pretence that we're phenomenally busy.

I was prompted to write this by the following quote:

Being genuinely close to death, seeing death, wondering about death, changes one's attitude to the use of one's life.
For that reason I hate waste, hypocrisy. I hate the way we cruise, wasting time. I believe that most of us only LIVE for 1% of our time. That's a tragedy.

This is taken from an interview on Vanessa Gebbie's blog with Alex Keegan. AK taught me everything I know about creative writing. This quote refers to the Clapham rail crash, which happened 20 years ago today. Alex was injured in it and it completely reshaped his life, as you can read in Vanessa's excellent interview. The interview goes into more weighty matters but I was struck by this quote because it sums Alex up so well. Through him, I learned the philosophy of write, write, write. Get the words down. Keep practicing, keep trying. That is why I get irritated with aspiring writers who produce maybe three stories a year and waste their time re- and re-writing them, or talking about writing or being a writer, or complaining about how little time they have. And I haven't got a fraction of Alex's passion. Reading the interview, you can see why, and you can understand why he is so driven to create.

His new collection, Ballistics, is out from Salt Publishing soon. Do yourself a favour and buy it.

1 comment:

Alex Keegan said...

I missed this.

Thanks Tom

PS remmember the grief that the passion brings