All that is gold does not glitter

This week I thoroughly enjoyed this blog post by Meg Rossoff  and the reply from Kathryn Evans here. Both wrote fascinating and well-constructed accounts of their intriguing lives. I feel honoured to have such brilliant people among my friends and acquaintances – and I know very many of you reading this could come up with equally extraordinary autobiographies.(Please do – I’d love to read them.)

But I also felt very humble. I haven’t done anything half so interesting – I’ve had a rather dull little life. How can I possibly account myself a writer in amongst these wondrous folk?

Well, I do have that essential quality for a writer – imagination.

My CV may not include the distillation of noxious herbs and their application to vile old women ( you’ll be glad to read), I may not be qualified to mount the most spectacular fireworks display in a ruined priory – nor am I actually able to shape-shift and explore the depths of the North Sea – but I can dream these things up.

And I am something of a pirate – I raid books and magazines and TV programmes and films and other people’s conversations. I sneak off with the shiny bits and clothe myself in their finery. I can nab a bit of someone else’s life and try it on for size: the more magnificent, the better.

Sometimes I even dress that way.

So my friends, if you are like me, a bit commonplace, it’s fine. The source of your writing may not be obvious.

Even a little grey pigeon can be a peacock on the inside.


9 thoughts on “All that is gold does not glitter

  1. I suspect you are short-changing yourself, m’dear – we all have our stories, they are all important – and that doesn’t mean we have to have done lots of daring or dashing things! x

  2. Well Phillipa, I have spent half my life being very good hard-working and responsible and now am loving spending the second half having a wonderful irresponsible time making up stories!

  3. in the same vein rather love this poem…

    Apologia by Connie Bensley

    My life is too dull and too careful –
    even I can see that:
    the orderly bedside table,
    the spoilt cat.

    Surely I should have been bolder.
    What could biographers say?
    She got up, ate toast and went shopping
    day after day?

    Whisky and gin are alarming,
    Ecstasy makes you drop dead.
    Toy boys make inroads on cash
    and your half of the bed.

    Emily Dickinson, help me.
    Stevie, look up from your Aunt.
    Some people can stand excitement,
    some people can’t.

    Connie Bensley

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