I’ve had quite a few new readers and followers over the last few months and I haven’t taken time to give you all a shout-out. So here it is:
Rest assured you are not forgotten. I always reply to comments and if you follow me I will take a look at your blog and may follow you back: if not I will at least read something.
But! my book has arrived! Yes, only four weeks later than predicted, How to Argue with an Atheist has finally dropped through my door. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait for last week’s order? Concerning the battles that all writers have in getting stuff from brain to page, it’s called The War of Art (geddit?) and I’m hoping it’ll be really useful.
I can’t seem to get out of the habit of ordering books – and why should I? As habits go it’s not a bad one, and since discovering Alibris I’ve managed to read loads of stuff on my to-read list including novels, political books and poetry. I’ve discovered stuff that’s hard to get or out of print, and I’ve bought a whole shelf-full of books for the price of a couple of hardbacks.
I know people get things cheap on Amazon, but I won’t use them because of their failure to pay their fair share of tax or to treat their workers properly (as well as their overuse of packaging etc etc.) But I had to break this rule today because an item I wanted was otherwise only available from Germany and would have taken weeks to arrive. And lo! in the course of ordering these items I was automatically signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime whose benefits spanned several pages and which, as I suspected, I would have to cancel before this day in August or be charged a monthly charge. Even when cancelling they still ask plaintively ‘are you sure you don’t want all these lovely benefits? If you click this button all your delicious and wonderful benefits will vanish,’ and so on. Nope. F*** off Amazon, I’ll none of you.
It takes discipline to resist all these offers though, like two-for-one in the supermarket or cheap flights. I can’t understand why everyone seems to be going on holiday now as though everything’s back to normal. It isn’t – and if we’re not careful we’ll be into the second wave. And we’re not being careful.
I’ve rambled a lot today. What I was going to write about was the habit of art, a phrase borrowed from Alan Bennett which I think he in turn borrowed from W H Auden. I think art is a habit; inspiration can strike but unless you are in the routine of sitting at your desk every day for a certain number of hours, you’re unlikely to know what to do with it. Ideas are the raw material of art; the cotton or linen which must be spun and woven and sewn to make a full garment. As someone said (I think it was C P Snow) if a writer can only work at a certain hour in a certain spot when the sun is at a certain angle, one has not much hope of his art.
So there we are. So thanks to all my readers and followers; you are much appreciated. That’s another good habit – appreciating people.