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.