As in the Diary, I did my tax today. It took less time than usual because I earned not a lot from writing during the Covid year – the first Covid year.
After I’d nervily confirmed those were my figures, I made a cup of tea and began the first Grab-bag Discussion Thread/Q&A. Three questions had appeared as soon as I posted this morning. First was from a friend who (as she said) had been on the 68 bus behind me and Leigh when we went to the BFI South Bank a couple of weekends ago. This was a nice reality effect to start. Her question, What is my favourite pen? I said the blue-capped, grey-barrelled Pilot Kaküno, though it’s just as much three others.
Another question someone asked was how much I let my writing interfere with my teaching? I think they meant the kind of writing I do – short answer being, As little as possible. I don’t expect my students to be attempting anything like this nonsense. (One subscriber-student did seem a bit influenced in their Project Portfolio, which I marked last week. But it’ll fade when I stop teaching them.)
Another question was whether it’s always right for a writer to feel ownership of, and the right to write about, events they hear about. I wondered whether this might not be a trap for later – and said ‘not always’. (Journalist trap.)
The first question after my friend’s was about if Diary was Fiction, Autofiction or Autobiography. I didn’t mention Interform, but that’s what I was thinking. Instead I said I hoped it could go almost anywhere, and that we should check back on this claim in December.
By the end, which went a little quiet, I felt un-humiliated. People had been interested and turned up. I’ll copy it over to the blog and take it down from Substack.
No-one asked about money, or Substack, or the future of publishing, or the state of English Literarature, or about Mouse.