A new Doc

I think I might have a Phd. I mean I’m not sure because I haven’t worn a weird hat or been given a certificate, but I have been congratulated – a lot. It’s been lovely. I’ve drunk Prosecco and people have said nice things and I have demurred. ‘It’s only in Creative Writing,’ I say, as if that makes it worth less, as if writing doesn’t matter and being creative is something to be embarrassed about. Why do I do that?
 OK, so am the kind of person who wouldn’t want to be in any club that had me as a member. I also tend to think that if I can do something then it has to be easy. I am in awe of people who can do the many things I can’t. I suppose that’s a personality thing but more than that I find myself colluding with the view that ‘soft’ subjects are for the intellectually feeble. I don’t argue when people talk of ‘Mickey Mouse’ subjects, when they denigrate those things that can’t be measured, weighed and scientifically valued. What am I thinking? Why does it have to be one or the other? Respect for the sciences should not involve contempt for the arts.
  I’m sure I’m not the only writer to have internalised this value system. I could blame the patriarchy I suppose (I am inclined to blame it for most things.) I can’t blame my actual father as he was an artist and valued creativity both in the abstract and in his children. I could blame my education where those of us who were academic were steered away from anything remotely practical or creative: clever people don’t make things; they just criticise the things other people have made. It’s certainly true that we often pay ‘consultants’ advisors, critics etc more than those who do the work. Those who are most highly regarded in our society rarely demean themselves by getting their hands dirty. Too often creativity is only valued if it yields large sums of money, and as we all know, the most lucrative work may or may not be the most creatively successful
   Perhaps as a society we are right to be wary of creativity. It is subversive, potentially radical, disruptive and challenging and exactly what we need right now. When the arts are under attack, when Classics, and Art History, Archaeology and Creative Writing are no longer available at ‘A’ level, when libraries are closing down and librarians sacked, maybe all of us practitioners, writers and artists, need to stand up for our subject and be prouder of what we do.


Another glass of Prosecco? Don’t mind it I do.

Welcome to my new website.

Very happy to welcome you to my newly upgraded website with thanks to Ben Kellerman for creating the clean design I wanted.  In spite of my maximalist nature – which is messy and a little magpie like – I do like simplicity – in websites, fashion and design.

I am a little bored of it now in interior decoration – a trend that has gone on for too long, but I still admire it when I come across it in literature. I am impatient and like books to cut to the chase; I have enormous respect for disciplined, uncluttered prose.  I think its hard for students to admire it because, like so much that is difficult in life, it looks easy – no long words or convoluted sentences, no post modern tricks or obvious brilliance. I can see why it is undervalued because I undervalued it myself for too long. Now I pursue clarity and simplicity like a demented Arthurian knight in search of  the holy grail.


So thanks Ben for this design.

Meanwhile, I’m battling away with my rewrite excising or rather ‘cutting’ the extraneous or should that be the ‘unnecessary’, or maybe ‘the flab’ or ‘the fat’? Is ‘cutting the flab’ the best way of restating ‘excising the extraneous’? Maybe it should be ‘stripping down the text’?  And so on. Endlessly. Welcome to my world…