I was walking through Kensington via Google Streetview, doing some research for a story, when I came across the house where Virginia Woolf was born. It was exactly what you’d expect the London home of a rich 19th Century family to be like.
I read some of her books back when I was about seventeen, and I really liked them, which isn’t that strange. I liked lots of things that I read when I was seventeen, in the way that a man in the desert dying of thirst would like just about any beverage you served him with.
She was such an awful snob, but that doesn’t spoil her writing.* I didn’t have to be like her or sympathise with her affluent, pampered background to enjoy her writing, because that’s the thing about reading, it takes you places you wouldn’t otherwise visit and you meet people that you would never meet if you didn’t turn the page.
If nothing else, Orlando. For that alone she is worth reading, and I learned so much of an England I would never otherwise know, reading that novel. An England that perhaps never really existed, except in the imagination of Virginia Woolf, but was real because she made it so.
*Without getting all class-warrior, it does make me wonder how many poor women didn’t get published, because they were too busy washing and ironing the clothes and scrubbing the floors of rich women like Woolf, and how many poor men had to do fourteen-hour shifts in factories and coalmines, who would have otherwise done quite well if they’d been given the chance to write. Woolf had the good fortune to be married to a man who purchased a publishing company.
I visited an archery club this evening and had a little go. Plan to sign up for a few lessons, I’ve used a bow a couple of times in the past but am no expert so it’d be good to learn properly. The only issue was that I’m left-handed but right-eye dominant, and they had me used bow right-handed, which was fine physically, but left me with a burning eye-ache afterwards.
Apart from that though it was good fun and I’m going again on Friday. There’s something about loosing an arrow, watching it in flight and hearing the thwack of it hitting the target.
I always think of my chronic migraines as being like an annoying kink in the bedsheet when I’m in bed, caused by tossing and turning in my sleep. The trick is, not to keep waking up and straightening the sheet, but learn not to toss and turn while sleeping.
So, if anyone has any ideas how to get rid of chronic migraines that doesn’t involve strong medication, let me know. I’m open to suggestions.
I’ve been buying some tat recently. I never intend to buy tat, I don’t consciously seek it out, but it’s what I’ve been getting. I’m currently scoring abut 60% on the tat-purchased scale.
I don’t know if I’m becoming a cheapskate, and that shoddy goods is the result of my mostly choosing the cheaper option, or if it’s because a majority of the stuff I’ve bought over the last year or two originated from a well known communist dictatorship, where quality comes a distant second or third place to price. I suspect it’s a mixture of both.
I’m becoming impatient with the things I buy. My junk-detector is becoming highly tuned. It’s time to ditch the tat and buy quality product, from known quality-suppliers. From here-on my purchasing is going to become a tat-free zone.
That’s it. There’s no secret. Just write. No one can teach you how to write. You learn to write by writing. Sure, you can improve your grammar, you can learn the technical side, but even that is plastic, it’s open to negotiation.
Bukowski said something along the lines of ‘Anyone standing on any street corner has more talent than me. But I kept writing when everyone else gave up.’ So if you want to write, write. If you don’t, or if you can’t be bothered, or you can’t find the time, that’s fine too, don’t worry about it, life is more important than writing.
Wanting to write, but not writing, is like drowning yourself in shallow water.
Dan and Laura went for a drive up to Sycamore Gap, on the Wall just east of Twice Brewed, and they sent me some pictures. One, of the remains of a stone staircase, struck me. These steps are 2,000 years old. They were built by Roman soldiers and lead up to Hadrian’s Wall, which sat (and still sits) atop crags overlooking flat land to the north, and was the end point of the Roman Empire. At the top of those steps was the wall, stretching across the country from coast to coast, and beyond the wall were the barbarians.
I’m the most un-habitual person I know. I can’t repeat a simple process more than a few times before I’ll change it. I’ll do it different. I’ll tweak it. Not on purpose, it just happens.
So for me, the hardest thing in the writing process is developing the habit of writing. I have some skill, and I’m willing to edit ruthlessly and repeatedly, but it’s the habit of writing that is the key to getting anything done.