ICYMI – Writing and Identity

This piece is reposted from my old blog, The Thing Itself.


My job is writing, but I don’t feel like a writer any more. In the past two years I’ve graduated from my BA, completed a Creative Writing masters and gained a job writing full time, yet I feel much less involved with writing than I did as an unproductive undergraduate – and I don’t know why that is.


I run a busy, well thought of poetry night. I know possibly hundreds of writers. Sometimes I’m not too exhausted to scribble two lines of what might one day be something into my iPhone notes when I come home from work. But I have (and I appreciate that there is no un-wanky way to say this) lost any connection I had to ‘literature’.

I used to feel like I lived inside it. I was living by the sea, in squalor and in a doomed, destructive relationship with another writer, who was charismatic and cruel and pretty much everything a girl raised on romantic poetry, who spent her teens thinking about Lestat and Byron, would home in on. I ground myself ever downwards amongst piles of decaying books and the smell of smoke.

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It’s a Metaphor, Fool (Fantasy vs Reality)

This piece is reposted from my old blog, The Thing Itself.


 “The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo Sapiens (‘wise man’). In any case it’s an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan Narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.”


I’ve always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy, even if I don’t get as involved in things like fandom* as I did as an overly-earnest teenager. Nowadays, when I’m nowhere near as much of a reader as a used to be (and when I spend the majority of reading time on trashy crime novels** about murdered girls – your fave is problematic) I tend to get my fantasy fix through gaming, logging more Skyrim hours per week than I’m willing to confess to in a public post.

But sometimes when I’m getting immersed in fantasy worlds, being emotionally invested in fictional characters, or fixating on small aspects of world-building and mythology, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by a sense of pointlessness. Even standard fiction does this to me at times. What is the point in spending so much of your real life thinking about pretend lives? Why is it easier to cry at a wizard dying because of a magical contract than it is to cry at wars on the news, or at the small unfairnesses of life?

Continue reading “It’s a Metaphor, Fool (Fantasy vs Reality)”