I should have known when I cried at the end of How To Look Good Naked (remember the moment when the mother blew kisses to her daughter as she walked down the catwalk?) that I was coming down with something. Sore throat. Check. Streaming nose. Check. Only able to smell the inside of your own head. Check. Today I am going to do something I haven’t had the luxury of doing for years. Today, my blog entry is the only thing I will write: I am going straight back to bed.
Probably like you, I do not read as much as I should. When I am writing, I find that I am influenced by other people’s styles. I try to keep my own writing style as concise as possible, but after re-reading The Hours by Michael Cunningham or trying Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk, I might find that I have come over all Virginia Woolf and it is time to reign myself back in. (I noticed how, in the same way that I will need to edit, when recording BBC’s Bookclub, James Naughtie often re-records the opening sequence at the end, so that his voice ‘matches.’) I often turn to non-fiction during a writing season, not only in terms of research but also for pleasure. (My latest find is Diana Athill.) But having just finished my latest manuscript, I can now tackle those meaty paperbacks that have been piling up on the bookshelf: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel; The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver; Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving. In this way, I will try to look at the day as a gift and not to feel too sorry for myself.