Tuesday 2 February 2016

A view from the bridge

Lava in Lake Nyiragong 
You could be forgiven for assuming I'd died or gone over to the dark side - maybe become a banker or something else that dare not lift its head in the booky corner of the web. But no. I've been that iconic squeezed middle that is pressed as thin as air by the needs of generations above and below. But enough of that. I miss being here. It's all too easy for the years to slip by that way. They will still all have my support. But somehow the days and minutes must be prised apart for other things, too.

The things I do all day matter and I have freely chosen to do them. But other things matter, too, and it's time to find a way to do some of them. So Stroppy is open for business again. Writing matters to me, and the fate of writers matters to me, and that children have access to books - good books. And these books don't write themselves, you know.

This year I am Chair of the Educational Writers' Group in the Society of Authors. There will be events (for EWG, I mean - I rarely do events-as-writer since the carbon dioxide of publicity chokes me). This year I will write all the books I'm contracted to write and I might even make real progress on one or two non-contracted projects. Because if I don't do it now, I will regret and resent that I didn't.

It's difficult to draw a line around what to do for others, and how far to let short-term demands compromise long-term aims or needs. I would rather have loved and cared for people dear to me than have written 250 books instead of 200 books. No one will miss those 50 books; even I will only miss two or three of them. I am a firm believer in sorting out what matters to you and prioritising it, regardless of what other people think should matter or what they want you to do. I would rather spend a day looking after MicroBint than doing a school visit, so that's what I'll do. But there must be balance, too. It's important to seek out those two or three books I'd miss and make sure I write them. And, of course, write enough books to pay for sticks to keep the wolf from the door. It would be nice if they could be the same books, but that's asking a lot.

Legend tells that Empedocles threw himself into the volcanic crater of Mount Etna, keen to prove his immortality (or to be turned into a god). I'm not going that far. But  I feel it's time to do a bit of prising apart of those dark wodges of time and let the red-hot ooze come out, fiery and enthusiastic to run downhill. Move aside, dark wodges....


  1. Welcome back, Stroppy Author. Your posts have been missed.

  2. Oooh moving wodges! Welcome back, Stroppy!

  3. Oooh - now if I spent less time trying to get you to tell me what new words a certain small person was using we might both do more writing!