Thursday, 25 June 2009


I have been writing a new novel now for nearly three months. Without wanting to put the blink on it, it is easily the best thing I have ever written. A few things have helped me over the last while.

First, I have discovered the works of Graham Greene, Celine and Bukowski. These guys are not really conventional writers but they have connected with me in ways others haven't. Celine and Bukowski don't even seem to have plots to their work because so much of it is taken from episodes in real life. To that extent, it is closer than heavily plotted novels where there are neat and tidy endings. Greene is probably the most ornate of these writers but there is still a high value of reality within his books. He would certainly describe with accuracy the way people might think given their circumstances and history.

The other big influence has been going to see Will Self read as described elsewhere in this blog. Writers and books always held a kind of mystery for me- as if the people themselves where absent from my world. Seeing a great writer read in the flesh and have him discuss literature with an attentive audience was a super way to kick me out of this mystical slump that I had fallen into. These guys are normal, though gifted individuals. If I work at it, I too can come close to achieving what they have done.

The most difficult thing for me is having the patience. Being unhappy with my current circumstances, I would like everything to improve right now, this minute!

I have to be realistic and accept that this is not going to happen. But like the Film, 'The Great Escape'- with time, courage, patience and intelligence I will get there!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Death of a Sales Man

Last night I watched a film adaption of 'Death of A Salesman' staring Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich. There is some great thinking that went into the writing of this by Arthur Miller. It explores themes of family conflict, idealism, The American Dream, commercialism and male egotism.

One of the major strengths of this play, as a piece of writing, is how fair it is to characters that one assumes Arthur Miller had little liking for. Willy Loman, the main salesman of the play, displays his love of his family despite being unable to connect with them fully. He puts the long hours in and is still supporting his oldest son at the age of 34.

So this is not black and white treatment. There is ambiguity and a richness of complexity within the writing.

There is a great lesson in this work for any aspiring writer: have great sympathy for the characters who do not share your views of the world. This will contribute to the greatness and potency of the work.