Two pieces of advice for would-be writers:
1 – Write. To some, this is obvious. To others, less so. Over the years, various writers have said it to me. The last one was David Almond (kerlanggg), a few weeks ago. Actually, by then it was ‘keep writing’, but the point still applies. It’s very simple. Don’t complicate it. Just do it. You’ll learn from it. If you never have time to do it, are you sure it’s what you really want to do?
2 – Set your book somewhere you really like visiting. Because if you’re lucky people will want to meet you in the setting of your book. So, mineshaft: bad; V&A: good.
I was there this morning, to meet ‘my German publisher’ (YES YES YES!). After a lovely coffee in the garden in the sunshine, I showed her the costume collection, which is my spiritual home and is where two of the key scenes in the book are set.
Aside from the fact that ‘my German publisher’ (ahem, YES YES YES! Again) is a warm and wonderful person I could spend time with anywhere, this was pure bliss.
It was followed by a quick, inevitable trip to the shop, where I bought more acrylic jewellery, and a visit to the silver collection, where a friend of my parents-in-law has a communion cup on display. I say this casually, as if that’s what one does, but I AM VERY IMPRESSED. Even more so to know that he made it when he was 24.
My book is a fairy tale, but such things can happen in real life.
I spotted his piece instantly. It was the first one whose label I checked. And luckily, for the record, it was my favourite by far. Paul, you are a very clever artist.
All fabulous. Followed by a fabulous bus trip back to my library, down Knightsbridge and Sloane Street and the Kings Road, in the sunshine, surrounded by Londoners enjoying the weather. Plus some more pages of my current book (to read): ‘Jeff in Venice’ by Geoff Dyer. It’s sublime and to those of us who feel we own Venice, a worthy tribute. Like your best trip to Venice ever, multiplied by love and cocaine. Which it is. I wouldn’t know about the cocaine bit personally, or care to, but I do know from experience that Venice is a good backdrop for falling in love.
Only problem: I arrived at the library in such a good mood, so buoyed by my fabulous evening, fabulous day, that I haven’t written a word of book 2 so far today. There is such a thing as too much fun.