I caught the end of a interview on radio 4 with Tom Stoppard this morning. The interviewer asked him what he felt he might wish to develop next as a play. With a rather heavy voice he said something along the lines of: “With so much terrible stuff in the world there is a lot of material but maybe I’d rather reduce my subject down to something smaller – family relationships, a farce, perhaps – ha-ha.” And I’m not quoting, as I can’t remember the actual words he used but I’ve been having the same feelings myself.
I naturally want to write about what I feel we may be ‘in for’- an end of this chaotic, money-obsessed, creative, beautiful, politically and environmentally-fucked, terrifying, ridiculous and awful 21st century society. Hence I’m on the third volume of my series Hoxton and nature is well and truly making a comeback; humans where perhaps where they/we should be, just another species of animal living with respect and in awe of everything natural that surrounds us.
But. As Mr Stoppard observed, perhaps it’s also important (and good for the soul) to write about something well removed from the screaming headlines each day. So, I’m currently also working on an ‘enlargement’ of my short story, The 158th book: set in the early 80s (not quite sure about exact dates yet) before screens and phones ruled the day, and starring a hapless but thoughtful poet who stumbles on great fortune, ultimately brought about by himself . . .
Up to 35,000 words now and its a great antidote each day to thinking about what unnecessary havoc has been added to the previous day’s havoc on this particularly wood-wormed political stage of the current time.
Photo from The Telegraph