So today, I'm back to the keyboard - I don't say 'coalface', I don't say 'grindstone' cos lets face it... at its best, writing is typing things out that you love, at its worst, its yelling like a primadonna because you can't think of a more interesting word for 'yellow'. There's no grind, there's no digging of coal, at no point do you fear that the million tons of earth above your head will kill you, let alone look at the antique shearing tool in your hand and worry that the safety guard may be loose.
Of course, I trivialise... at its very best writing is like soaring above the planet in a chocolate-and-meat eagle, punching the air as you go, while Marilyn Monroe, the Countess Bathory, Lorelei Gilmore and Trevor McDonald* all perform unspeakable sex acts on you. At its very worst its like taking a bath in Windsor Davies wee while the Chuckle Brothers, Peter Andre, Ricky Gervaise and Dan Brown mock and point at you for being stupid as you bang your head to bloodpoint on the cold white enamel.
Anyway, today's point is quite brief, but it's important. In my many years of working in comics/graphic novels, I've realised that artists, by and large, spend enormous amounts of time indoors. looking at photo-reference, working thru the night, driving themselves slowly insane as they try and get a particular pencil line right. Writers on the other hand, while used to the long weird hours of hearing half a dozen voices in their head, always find the time to get out and about and get 'the craic'.
And that's because 'the craic' (or I, as a non-Irishman, prefer to call it - 'basic enjoyable human interaction') is what fuels our fires. I need the several hours of solitude at home to get the pages filled and do the slog, but both the honing and the thinking for the next day comes when I'm out and about. Six to eight hours at the desk on my own is all I can take, because after that the voices all start to sound like me... get out to the pub with the laptop and I start to hear other timbres and nuances, I hear new stories and fresh speech patterns, observe human behaviour in every giant gesture and writ-small nuance.
And that's why this is slightly off-kilter and a tad unfocussed.
I'm in the pub. And I'm working. And that's important.
*Yes I know its 'Sir'... but I make him feel common.