Over-opinionated and Under-qualified Dilettante

The title of this post is a quotation from a Guardian books blog. I can’t remember who it was or what it was about but the phrase tickled me and so I kept it on a bit of paper. If I can find him again I will credit him properly. He was writing about bloggers. I bet his mum is really pleased about how clever he is. Dilettante is a word I first heard from one of my friends. I did not know what it meant so I decided to look it up but it took a very long time because I coudn’t think how to spell it.

Tonight I am going to write about other people. Except it won’t really be about other people – all of these posts and my emails and telephone calls and conversations generally and much of the novel writing and story writing is sort of about other people but mainly circling about myself and a way for me to find out what I think about things. I have written about needing an audience and not liking solitude for the writing and I have written about liking to explore the dark place between what people think they are and how they appear and what they really are.

It is a kind of arrogant thing for a writer to decide that they know what someone really is and not just what they appear to be. And that they are going to write about it in a way that is going to make their character look silly or funny or sad. It is what I have tried to do with most of my writing. I knew it was sort of arrogant at the time but it was too interesting to stop doing it and I think what people write about is more or less the same as what colour cardigans they wear – it is something that is interesting but does not have a moral dimension. So it is all right to lie or be cruel in typing because it is not real. I am not really sure if I agree with that, but that is all right, I can think about it some more in the next fifty years or so I might have on this planet.

Mainly I am thinking about other people. There are about two or three people in the world I can stand to have in the room with me for any amount of time, but not at the moment. At the moment the number has dwindled to none and I am quite liking my cardigan and my night-times and enjoying the not-irritated feeling of being on my own. There is a thought blooming about being unread, and unwritten, and selves and rubbish and dark places but I can’t get hold of it.

The writing is going better. I think it is because when I am with other people I am often not really with them but with myself wondering if I have said the wrong thing or not said enough of the right things. With the typing saying the wrong thing and not enough of the right things is all right, it is better and it is important and you can delete it anyway. I would quite like to try being on my own (apart from working and mothering) for a long time. I would need to wash less, not go and get my hair cut and not worry about saying the wrong thing. This would free up a lot of brain space. 

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