Doing my best not to gripe


This column's meant to be frank, offering the miseries of the writing life as well as the occasional joys. But let's be frank ... who needs misery?

So what's to gripe at today? Rejection for the English Arts Council of a grant application it took me days to write last summer. 15 writers are made happy with their seven thousand pounds, 257 including me have been let down. What a lot of desperation chasing what is a pittance in terms of national funding of writers.

Other gripes? Just the regular ones of pushing a novel to conclusion that is startlingly weird and intense with no sense at all that anyone will want it, and the accompanying financial floundering. But it's all the more intense today because the writing is going great guns but the current scene is a bitter one to sustain, a hard one to find myself in the middle of. My characters are resourceful, keep finding new ways to continue against the poundings of adversity, dredge up spunky ways of dodging the bullets and fighting back.

Just like this writing life really! So let's cut the griping ... my new book's pushed itself through a great hurdle today and is set up powerfully well for tomorrow. It's left me tired and ratty but this can go down as a very fine day. A good stiff drink should round it all off nicely.

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