WRITERS AND WRITING
Have you ever wondered why some people become writers? I do constantly. It’s an occupation which offers most of those who do it no or little reward for hours and hours of work and yet, I and thousands of people like me get up every day and type long lines of words on blank pages. I’m writing now at 5.30 am because I can’t sleep again. I write in my head most of the time and sometimes the words have to be written down before I forget them so I am forced to get up, totally exhausted to write them down.
Here’s how I imagine an interview with an alien reporter who’s been asked by the Intergalactic Council to research occupations on Planet Earth would go like:
Alien Reporter: So, what work do you do?
Me: I write.
A.R. Write what?
A.R. That is not very helpful, is it? The Intergalactic Council is not interested in vague statements, but specific details to help us with our mission.
Me: I write stories and plays and screenplays and poems.
A.R. And how many hours a day do you spend on this futile occupation?
Me: About 4 to 5 hours a day.
A.R. And how much money do you earn doing this strange occupation?
Me: That’s a very personal question.
A.R. That is what I have been asked to ask. How much?
Me: Not a lot.
A.R. How much?
Me: (mumbling) About £3,000 if I’m lucky.
A.R. And that is enough for everything a human to live on for a month?
Me: A year.
A.R. That answer will surprise the Council. I have been given misinformation by another human being. He said humans needed at least £10,000 a month to live well.
Me: (very surprised) £10,000! Was he a banker?
A.R. (very surprised) I did not know that Earth Creatures were clairvoyant.
Me: I didn’t know that bankers could live on so little.
A.R. Is that an example of a human joke?
And so the interview rambles on until I see what the alien sees: a person who is totally barking/off her trolley/ mad as a hatter/. Choose which ever words please you most.
Or do you become nuts because you write? It’s a pithy question which if solved could half the rates in psychiatric wards and save the NHS a small fortune.