Dedalus News & Blog

Geoff Smith’s Blog: The Art of Writing

So at last I have spurred myself into a state of readiness to write a blog about
the art of writing. There sun is shining and a world of infinite possibilities
lies before me in the form of a biro and a blank page. But actually a cup of
coffee would be nice right now, before I start…

That’s better. Now. where was I? Ah, yes, raring to go and ready to be creative
and authoritative. Except…oh, my t-shirt smells a bit stale. Actually, I think
I’m getting a bit whiffy. Best to go and have a bath before I start this.

That was good. I feel all fresh, pink and lovely now. I don’t like writing when
I feel scruffy and dishevelled. So, to begin…oh, the ‘phone is ringing. Better
answer it, it could be something important.

It was nothing at all important. Just some smug git from an investment company
trying to sell me some of his dubious wares. Jumped-up barrow-boys the lot of
them. They have no real knowledge of effective investing – who really has? –
they are only glib salesmen in shiny suits peddling products they probably don’t
even understand themselves. Or participants in a boiler room scam. I nearly told
him to sod off straight away, but for some reason I actually engaged with him
while he explained to me that buying land for future development in Brazil – in
reality probably somewhere in the middle of a swamp or a slum in Sao Paolo – was
an unmissable opportunity to make me as rich as Croesus. Why not give it a small
punt, he said, maybe ten thousand pounds? Yeah, right. Why not indeed send ten
thousand pounds to someone on the ‘phone I don’t know from Adam who has all the
professional credentials of a praying mantis? I told him the whole thing sounded
about as secure as a Katie Price marriage, and would he please go away because,
well, didn’t he realise he was interrupting me in the midst of a creative flow?
These people are harder to get rid of than a tropical skin disease – and at
least twice as irritating.

So, where were we? Ah, yes. About to discourse learnedly upon the art of
writing. I remember Anthony Burgess once said…oh, God, now I feel all keyed up
and I fancy a cigarette (me, that is, not Anthony Burgess). I know I should try
to stop, but I am always driven to rebelliousness by the health Nazis and their
efforts to control us all by crippling us with guilt – a lesson they, along with
all modern governments and corporations, learned from the Catholic Church. The
bloody health lobby is completely in the pay of big business these days,
specifically the pharmaceutical industry, which makes billions from selling
smoking cessation products which they know long-term are totally ineffective, so
people are made to feel guilty and stressed, and just keep bouncing back and
forth between the tobacco companies and big pharma. Neither has any real wish
for anyone to stop smoking, and neither do the anti-smoking organisations, since
what would happen to their grants and salaries and expense accounts (not to
mention their self-righteousness) if everyone did stop? Ironically the best way
for smokers to strike a blow against these people would be to actually give up.
Whenever I see wild-eyed fanatics demanding new measures to curtail our freedom
‘for the good of our health’, it strikes me that these are exactly the same kind
of people who, a few hundred years ago, would have been burning us at the stake
‘for the good of our souls’. But I suppose they can’t do that any more, because
of the secondary smoke!! I accept that smoking is bad for you, but from the
hysteria and propaganda put out these days you would think that just being in
the same time zone as someone lighting a cigarette was enough to cause instant
disease and death. My grandmother smoked about 50 Senior Service full strength a
day for most of her life, and died of boredom at the age of 94. To hell with the
nanny state, I’m going to go and have one.

Here I am again. But now the sun has gone, obscured by dark heavy clouds
blanketing the sky. It is looking very bleak and gloomy out there. Actually, I’m
starting to feel a bit depressed. Perhaps I’ll leave this for now, and try again

There you have the art of writing in its essence.

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