Sunday, 10 April 2011

Fine upstanding writers

It had been a while since we'd met at Chris and Linda’s and the mood was light-hearted. Thanks to Linda's hospitality and baking skills I enjoyed my second accidental cake of the day. Annie and I shared a pew while Rob -- suffering with a back problem -- was obliged to spend the meeting either towering over us like an intimidating lecturer who had lost his lectern or else kneeling beside this. Poor Rob. But the supplicant was rewarded for his humble genuflection with lots of thoughtful and constructive feedback on his submission to this week’s meeting -- an opening chapter for a ghost-written memoir. This is a fascinating project and generated much discussion about the particular challenges of writing memoir and the extent to which a ghost-writer must remain faithful to the recollections of the ‘ghost-writee’. All memory is imperfect. How much poetic licence can the writer of memoir-at-one-remove be allowed?

Meanwhile, Chris has been busy touring his ' one-man show ' based on his book Why don't you fly? With the logistical backup of Linda, Chris is as busy doing talks these days as he is writing. He played us a recording of a recent interview on BBC Radio Shropshire. Notwithstanding the chummy facetiousness of the radio presenter, BBC local radio remains one of the few forums for emerging writers to publicise their work. The BBC is a public service and, like all public services these days, is facing cutbacks. BBC local radio is a precious platform for writers just as BBC Radio 4 is one of very few outlets for short literary fiction for UK-based writers. Let us hope, as the BBC's output is scrutinised, opportunities for new writing are developed rather than cut back. Perhaps we should follow Rob's example and ask for as much on bended knee.