Writing Now i

The ‘i’ is affectatious. But that’s how I am sometimes – it was better than spending all the time I’m supposed to be writing a journal entry in thinking up a pithy and suitable name for this – my day-to-day entry.

Richard Herring has Warming Up, which he’s done for years, and certainly appears to have helped generate one of the most ideas-rich periods of his career. Originally this blog, for me, was an attempt to keep writing rather than warm up necessarily but that’s just led to posts taking days (weeks) to complete as I strove for ‘perfection’ instead of just ‘production’.

Today is Valentine’s Day, and the love of my life is in a corner of North-East America on a PhD research trip. For the next three weeks. And then eight more after that. I’ve shied away sometimes from writing when we’re in the house together, which is most of the time, because writing is terribly solitary and I don’t feel you can just dip in and out. You’ve got to be committed, and you’ve got to give it time.

We’ve been working together on a poem (I keep calling it ‘epic’ but that’s only supposed to suggest the time period, or a mythical quality) that I came up with called Eridris’ Voice. It’s something I’m awesomely excited about, and the ideas we’ve formed and polished together, not to mention the poem’s structure and arc, have been so rewarding to develop. But, in the end, it’s got to be written – which means head down, not sharing.

We work brilliantly together, but I’m often worried that she feels ignored or snubbed in favour of writing, that I’m putting my love and passion into the pages rather than into us. But that’s not true. Being with her enables me to put my all into the writing, because of how well we work together. It just so happens that my own backwards logic then makes me feel guilty for turning from the one person who helps me get to a place where I can feel like a writer.

Because of course that’s the whole purpose behind this, and the biggest stumbling block to get over. For Valentine’s my fiancee has bought me a book which – cynic that I am – I was interested in but didn’t expect to really reach the parts I needed. It has an introduction by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Love, Pray) and my knee-jerk (idiot) thought was that it’s a book promising to help you write the next Chicken Soup for the Soul.

I am a cretin. I continously fail to remember a) How incredibly well my dear girl knows me, inside and out, and b) just how incredibly sophisticated and informed her taste is. Suffice to say that after 20 or so pages I am now here, writing, instead of watching iPlayer, The West Wing or playing videogames. I am writing. I am a writer. This is a pretty damn good book.

Sadly, I am also a sometime cook, and my dinner is probably burning in the oven. But I will return to this, and again, and again. And will always remember that I should have spent just a few more minutes coming up with something better than roman numerals.


About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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