‘When informed that this cloud hadn’t magically saved all my lost books, I burst into tears and, when the online customer support person told me – brightly – to ‘have a nice day’ it took all the willpower I possessed not to scream expletives in response. ‘
'After commuting for twelve years, I went freelance. I told GWR I had written three books on their train, and that I should be made their writer in residence. To my surprise they agreed, giving me a staff pass that allowed free travel on their network.'
'My bottom drawer is more of a recycling bin than a bottom drawer. With the knowledge that no writing is ever wasted, my intention is for nothing to stay in it forever. Instead, it serves as a temporary storage space for stories I plan to revise. '
'I score out phrases, draw connecting arrows between ideas, and play around with the position of words on the page. Using a mouse and keyboard would slow me down. I rewrite obsessively. Every few lines I'll start redrafting what I’ve written so far. '
'Writing is dreams caught in butterfly nets. It’s falling in love for the first time. It’s adventures my knees are too old to have. And mysteries my brain is too dull to solve. Writing is my escape. My means of coming back to myself. I write because I love it.'
'Gather a few authors together in a room and does the conversation veer towards culture, philosophy, art…literature? No, it does not. It focuses on complaints — publicists, publishers, party invitations (lack of), editors and of course…earnings. '
'Wandering around a music festival, a fella pointed a camera at me. ‘You wrote that book, didn’t you?’ he said. ‘I did!’ I said, thrilled, ‘did you like it?’ ‘I’m not sure,’ he said and hid any fanboy excess behind a look that might be described as unnerving...'
'I note that the café has an atmosphere of carefully crafted urban decay, mostly accidental. Nature is everywhere. It’s ugly and visceral and full of decay. It's in the rust on the bicycle and the weeds appearing uninvited between the cracks. '
'The advice that the editor gave, that the readers want to know more about the kestrel flying above the rainbow that you see from the mountain pass in Wales and less about what it’s like to change a tyre in the rain? They’re not wrong.'
'I began to internalise the rejections, to believe in a way I hadn’t when I was younger, that the editors, agents, publishers were right — my work wasn’t good enough; of course they didn’t want it. The rejections began to affect me. They began to fray me.'