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Brave revelations

Ian Rankin, who recently featured in an episode of the BBC series “Imagine”, struck a few chords with me.  His comments about writing parallel all the creative arts processes it seems to me.  He said that every book has a notion of perfection but as you write this notion begins to fall away.  He quoted Iris Murdock – “Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea”.  There were other comments he made which resonated, such as – he is never certain where he is going, he doesn’t feel in control of the process, there’s lots to be afraid of and, “Last night I suddenly got the fear again”!  These are brave revelations.


It’s a roller coaster – one day he thinks it’s bad, one day he thinks it’s really good, another he thinks it’s dreadful.    During the process he pours all his thoughts onto the pages and then suddenly runs out of steam and things start going badly.  It’s a pattern which repeats itself.  His wife is the stabilising influence.   She reminds him of which stage he is approaching – it’s a crisis that always happens at page 65.   With me, for example,  it is probably the 6th stage proof of an etching, or the 10th day of a painting.  You feel everything is falling apart and you’ll never get to the point and you’re losing the plot.  But everything will be alright (says Ian Rankin’s wife – she’s seen it all before).  You’ve just got to hang on.  And she’s right – relatively speaking.


If I get the time I plan to make a photographic record of the progression through my last etching.  (I’ve lost count of the number of proofs it has taken between inception and completion, but I believe it has gone through more changes than any etching I have ever done.)  I’ll then post it here – just to prove a point!


In the end you just have to stop all this and get on with the next (imperfect) thing.