in this life, we are always in the process of leaving something
So I’ve changed the title of the blog. I picked the previous title “On the life of a new author” on a whim in 2005 when I sold my first novel and my friend Yoz said to me “you should really have a blog”. Keeping it now I’ve published a second novel feels a bit coy, like Douglas Adams’ description of the ‘virgins’ of Brequinda:
“no sooner would a flock of half a dozen silk-winged leather bodied
Fire Dragons heave into sight across the evening horizon then half the
Brequinda would be scurrying off to the woods with the other half, there
a busy breathless night together and emerge with the first rays of dawn
and happy and still claiming, rather endearingly, to be virgins, if
and sticky virgins.”
I’m not a new author anymore, nor yet a weary old hack I hope, but The Lessons has a page at the front which reads “Also by this author” which feels like the greatest triumph in the world. So I’ve chosen a new title: leaving the house. Why? Because on a day-to-day basis this is literally one of my big challenges. So easy to spend the day indoors writing or reading or emailing, not to notice that it’s getting dark outside. So hard to remember to actually leave the house. And because my August project last year was so much fun, and because, well, I guess there’s a sort-of-pretentious third reason which is that leaving the house is a kind of metaphor for writing? This is what we do: we step behind someone else’s eyes and look out at the world the way they see it. Or we try to. We leave our own houses, literally and metaphorically. It is hard to do but satisfying. I’m lucky to have this as my challenge.
Anyway. Onwards. I have in fact just got back to my house after a week away at the Totleigh Barton centre in Arvon teaching creative writing to some incredibly lovely Devon teenagers. The painterly image above was the view from my window every morning (the girl in the middle is trying to get mobile phone reception). Now I’m back home, trying to tame my inbox, thinking in earnest about the *new novel*. And about leaving the house in order to write. Here we go again.