Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hearing Voices in Lancaster


Big placards around Lancaster University announce they are spending £200,000,000 on various upgrades. It does need it. The campus has a lovely hilltop site just out of the city, but has somehow managed to build so that you never have a view.
It's home-from-home for now though (I'm writing this from the library, as pictured). The PhD should be finished by the weekend. I understand that few people who take PhDs in Creative Writing anywhere come away from the process thinking it was very clear. The thesis element I'm just completing, a simple 20,000 words, has proved one of the hardest writing tasks I've ever accomplished. Last week in Scotland was real headbanging time when I felt like chucking the whole thing in for a year. The style of course is different: hammering home each point is what I would teach writers not to do. Worse than that has been coming round to understanding that I am supposed to be writing about, and copiously quoting from, my own novel. Still, since self-analysis is a trait I aim to foster in other writers I guess it's not bad to be honing it in myself.
It's a lonely summer campus, with no-one here. Company sprang briefly into being this evening though. I stood up amd heard a tiny voice calling from my pocket. It was my partner, out in Santa Barbara, California. Somehow my mobile phone had contrived to dial him without my knowing it. I've been dubious about mobile phones, but now I can see they are quite miraculous little things.

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