Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Dear diary

I came home, sat down on the sofa and ... woke up at about 8 pm. No idea why. It's not as if I spent the day running in a marathon.

The morning started with a dreadfully dull meeting, which was enlivened by only by a generous supply of chocolate biscuits. The rest of the day was much better—I sat on the panel of a PhD confirmation seminar, had a quick lunch with friends and sorted out a number of lingering administrative problems. Then a string of students visited me and the day declined again. Having squandered the bulk of semester by not coming to lectures, not completing assessable laboratory reports and not handing in assignments, the darlings are now starting to panic about the exams, which are approaching with the speed of an avalanche. They're about to learn that they have to take responsibility for themselves right ... now.

What else? Oh, yes. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't buy any more books until I'd read the volumes stacked on my coffee table. Well, I haven't finished any of them but today I picked up a few more to add to the teetering tower. The new ones are Stephen Fry's introduction to poetry, The ode less travelled; the two most recent (and pared down) novels by Cormac McCarthy, No country for old men and The road; and a manual on studying molluscs. (Of course.) I think that sums up my interests.

Have fallen out of the writing habit recently. I must re-energise. 52 Projects has a post about writing while working. Now I realise that I've been doing it the wrong way all these years.

This is an age-old, time-honored tradition: Writing a novel on the man's dollar. Yes, you can burn the midnight oil, or work on weekends, or take a few months off to pound out your tome, but there is nothing better than writing the words to that novel that may or may not become a bestseller and make you rich and famous while you're supposed to be on the job. The lower level the job, the worse your boss is, the more depraved the conditions, the better your words, or at least the story of how your words came to the page, will be.

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