Monday, October 31

reading and writing books

After I enjoyed reading The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis, I looked for articles on the web. In one interview, there was a list of Amis's advice to writers, for example:

• "Don’t start a paragraph with the same word as the previous one. That goes doubly for sentences."

Everyone who reads this blog has written a book, except me. I wonder if I have what it takes to write. Looking at the rest of Amis's tips:

• "Watch out for words that repeat too often."  I think he forgot to add that words like "it all balances up" are so important that you can never have too much of them.

• “Never use ‘amongst.’ ‘Among.’ Never use ‘whilst.’ Anyone who uses ‘whilst’ is subliterate.”   I couldn't agree more.

• "You write the book you want to read. That’s my rule."  What if you want to read pornography?

• “You have to have a huge appetite for solitude.”   I rest my case.

So on the evidence, I could easily write a book. I can only see one problem: a writer needs to be an effed-up sort of person. All creative people are riddled with addictions, contradictions, and mental problems. A normal well-adjusted joe like me is happy just getting on with normal things.

I read another book recently called Are You Boys Cyclists? I couldn't put it down, as they say. Actually I had to put it down, but only to eat. I continued reading on the bus to work, laughing aloud. I hope nobody was reading the graphic parts over my shoulder. A hugely enjoyable book by someone who knows how to write. Honest and depraved. Who would have thought a postmodern novel could be so much fun!


  1. I would invite you to join NaNoWriMo and give it a go.

    I think there are a lot of 'experts' out there with a different opinion on how things should be. But the fact of it is that everyone has stories to tell.

    I'm not a writer. I have no intention of being one. But this is the 10th year I'd done this and I find it interesting.

    Most of what I write is just to empty out the noise in my head.

    Come join.

  2. Albert? Thanks for the plug! Whilst I couldn't agree more with Albert Amis, whose rules are very sensible, I have to say that writinng is a total mug's game. Stick to reading the computery manuals. Meditating is the newer writing anyway, except it's harder. Unfortunately, also a mug's game, but so is life! Hotboy

  3. Albert? You're review doesn't show if you look for Cyclists here in Blighty! Don't know why that is. Hotboy

  4. Thanks Nanners, it was after visiting nanowrimo that I wrote this post. Maybe one year I could use it to rewrite the memoir-ey posts from the last 6 years.

    Hotters. Life Is A Mug's Game. Now there's a catchy title. PS no idea why the review doesn't show at your end. If they wanted to censor something, they'd have banned the book.

  5. Hotters. Try googling PEBKAC.

  6. I say!

    Don't know the Amis chap myself. Did he open for Sussex in the 1950s?

    MM III