Sport 8: Autumn 1992
That was when I was a writer. Now I'm back to being a bookseller who writes for three hours each morning—which seems another state entirely. But why? Maurice Gee, the 1992 KM Fellow, and a writer if ever there was one, tells me he only writes for three hours each morning, then he's 'finished, had it'—so is the difference in what you do for the rest of the day? In France I found the hardest thing was that, deprived of my usual distractions, I couldn't find a way to get out of my work overnight so I could come back to it fresh next morning.
So real writers stay in their writing all the time, is that it?
I did have spells of full-time writing when I was younger, patches where I was out of work or on holiday, but that was in the future-hungry days before I'd had anything published. Being the KM Fellow means that everybody you meet sees you as a writer, which is a role I find impossible to fill. In my mind writers are mythological, giants like Cocteau's Salle de Mariage figures; it's a company I aspire to.
But it was fun pretending; and I got an enormous amount of work done.
Try as I might I never felt at home in France. I did look every day for the lizard in the hole in the wall, but once I'd written this piece I never saw it again.
Auckland, January 1992
*When Gordon McLauchlan's attack on state patronage to writers was published in the NZ Herald at least half a dozen 'friends' instantly thought of me and sent a copy. For two weeks afterwards I worked in a fury of self-justifying indignation.