The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Fall & The Myth of Sisyphus

I have to admit, when I started reading The Fall I really wasn’t enjoying it. I kept putting it down, I kept making cups of tea, I kept finding excuses to play with the cat – I just couldn’t get on with it. It felt slow. The protagonist seemed so big headed, full of himself, boastful and not someone I could easily get along with. He struck me as the kind of character who, if we met in person, I would try to escape from. I would put distance between us, as quickly and efficiently as possible.

It took some time. Thing’s do. Then it started to get interesting in a typical Camus-esque light, delicate, blending way. It was subtle, there was something in the air – perhaps the characters’ voice changed at some point, perhaps there was some small slip of the tongue, but something was there. Something. Something sinister. The protagonist invites you out for a walk, and we go with him and sit by the river, the plainest river we have ever seen and we listen to him talk. He says he realised something, that one day everything changed. It was the smallest of things – but it meant a great deal – and then we see this big-headed boastful character as someone completely different. We pity him. Feel for him. Want to put out our fictional arm and pull him close to us and say ‘it’s okay’.

Then I couldn’t stop reading. The end came at me like a brick wall round a sharp bend and I was left book-less. The endpapers splayed uselessly in my hands.

I’d read The Stranger (or The Outsider depending on the translation) a year or two ago and I’d loved that. Really loved it. Up there with Nausea and the others, and though this had the same feel to it it was different. It had twisted in such a dramatic way, and yet so smoothly. I couldn’t point out when the turn began if I tried.

Then we were told to read The Reluctant Fundamentalist for one of my modules. It was very similar to The Fall, although different in parts, certainly, but there was so much that was similar. It was clever, I’d give it that, but for me there wasn’t enough of a challenge – everything felt very 2D, very far away and unreal, as if every character had a comic-book-esque black line drawn around them. Archetype no.1 meets Archetype no. 2. It wasn’t heavy on the eyes, or the mind, and the narrative was smooth and far from cumbersome, but it felt too samey – gimmicky, I guess, taking someone elses idea and applying it elsewhere without a great deal of style. A lovely book, don’t get me wrong, but it just paled in comparison to The Fall (which was a supplementary text on our reading list – why The Reluctant Fundamentalist was core text when The Fall was sitting right under it I don’t know).

Also, whilst Camus is on the cards, I’d like to say that The Myth of Sisyphus is probably one of my strongest influences philosophically, aside from Derrida and Heidegger. Sisyphus came at me when I was at my worst, and, though it took some time to work in, it really helped me out. It felt so honest, so careful, so clear – not pretentious like most philosophical essays, not infinitely complex, but real – alive and now. It’s an approachable academic text, and stands largely independent of the pro-Enlightenment anti-Enlightenment fuss of contemporary philosophy. It stands on it’s own pedestal, in a way, and tackles an issue most modern philosophers would probably bat away with the back of their hand.

Mania? Maybe, but to me ‘this universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.’

Albert Camus,  ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ in The Myth of Sisyphus trans. by Justin O’Brien (London: Penguin Books1975), pp. 9-125, p. 110


15 thoughts on “The Reluctant Fundamentalist, The Fall & The Myth of Sisyphus”

  1. I ended up reading this after having to read ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ for class. I really enjoyed that, but I must admit, while stylistically very similar, ‘The Fall’ feels like a better realisation of the idea.
    My latest post: Review: The Fall by Albert Camus

    1. I felt it was very much a contemporary version of Camus’ text, and perhaps it should be celebrated for that? I don’t know… ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ was certainly easier to read/more approachable but it fell less intense as a result, if that makes sense?

      Anyway, I’m glad you read ‘The Fall’! Have you read any other Camus?

  2. I thought it was thematically different, but stylistically incredibly similar. I’d certainly be interested in reading other books with a similar narration style, to see how other authors tackle it. I have a feeling Hamid talked to the Guardian about how he drew on ‘The Fall’ when writing TRF (although I’m sure he’s mentioned it elsewhere).
    I’ve read ‘The Outsider’, and dipped into a few other things. I’m working my way slowly through ‘The Rebel’ at the moment, which is actually really helpful when it comes to getting more out of ‘The Fall’. How about you?

    1. Yeah, it would be interesting to see what other authors pick up/interpret it. I imagine a number of very powerful things could be done with that kind of narration – I guess we’ll have to wait and see who comes up with something (or create something ourselves).

      I too have read ‘The Outsider’, though have not yet been able to pick up a copy of ‘The Rebel’ despite being really keen on reading it! It’s so oft quoted, I really want to see those quotes in context.

      I got a few pages into ‘The Plague’ not so long ago but everything begins in an environment so bleak I had to put it down – I need something light hearted before engaging with that again (hence choosing Vonnegut). Then I stumbled onto Beckett, ‘Molloy’ in particular, and have been working my way though that – similar philosophy, different style.

      1. Oh, definitely – the only way to be sure something’s worth reading is to write it yourself 😉 I think it’s a really engaging style, though, and would love to see it done with some more flamboyance. I’m re-reading ‘Money’ at the moment, and am hopelessly engaged by the narrator talking out at the reader, so anything like that is bound to get me.
        I’d definitely recommend ‘The Rebel’ from what I’ve read so far. If nothing else, the introduction (only a few pages) really distils what Camus is saying in ‘The Fall’, I think. Happily, bleakness is for me, so I could read this sort of navel-gazing misery-lit all day 🙂 Vonnegut is a great palate cleanser.
        I notice you did a CW MA at UAE (too many initialisms in one sentence?) – I’ve heard persistantly good things about the department. Recommend?

        1. ‘Money’ is so so good! One of my favourites by far – as you say, Amis’ style in that book is so engaging, it works so well. At the same time though maybe it works because it sort of fits the nature of the character he’s inhabiting? If the character were, say, a quiet introverted sort then I’m not sure it would work as well.

          Haha! I do enjoy bleakness, (forgot to mention I’ve also read ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ which is concerned with the question of whether suicide is a legitimate course of action in the modern world. Bleak indeed) though sometimes it’s too much!

          Yes, CW MA UEA is a bit of an acronym mouthful. Yes, would recommend, though I think it depends on what you want to get from it. If you’re not sure of your footing and want to experiment and get a good grip of your style (and it’s limits) then the UEA is probably not the best bet. If you’ve got blood under your nails already and you think you’re on solid ground then the UEA is a great place to sharpen those knives. The MA is competitive, so I’m guessing if you get in your portfolio must have had something strong in it already – getting accepted, then, is kind of an answer itself; shows that you’ve got something going already. If you don’t get in then maybe you need to experiment a bit and find your style.

          Great institution, teachers are really keen to teach and listen to what you have to say, the other students are passionate and can be very fiery (in a good way). They were having some admin issues when I was there due to updates which made things a little confusing, but really I don’t have a bad word about it. I think my experiences on the Aber BA CW course affected me more, but I have a feeling that’s because I’d never studied CW until then, and that, combined with 3 years of writing, made for a glorious experience!

          You’re considering the UEA for an MA? Or just curious?

          1. Agreed, Self carries the text. I’d love to see it attempted with a different, smaller character though. I’m a big Amis admirer in general, although I think I’ve only worked my way through his ‘top hits’ so far.
            Sisyphus does sound bleak – I think I gave it a go at some point, but was another one that I drifted away from. Seems to be a consistent thing with me and Camus (which is a reflection on my attention span, rather than my opinion on the writing).
            Thanks for the opinion on UEA. I’m still working on my UG, but looking forward to options for the future. I’ve heard lots of good things, as I say, and it’s a part of the world I’ve always liked. I’ve only ever seen the campus when it’s quiet so probably not at its best, but it’s really good to hear about the teaching (that’s the key thing, I guess). It’s hard to know where I put myself on my own writing journey: I’ve just finished the first draft of my first novel, but who knows what that says, other than that I’m persistent. I’m hoping I’ll be ready to hold my own by the end of my degree, but who knows. Getting into a top course would definitely be a condfidence booster.
            Are you writing full-time at the moment?

            1. His top hits? I’ve only read ‘Money’ though have a copy of ‘London Fields’ ready to go…

              I really would recommend ‘Sisyphus’ through it’s not really a text for leisure reading – it sort of navigates a plane between the academic and prosaic, but it’s incredible, has influenced me in so many ways.

              I wish you the lest of luck with the UG and it’s good that you’re considering your future now – a lot of students leave it to the last minute and end up throwing themselves into an MA they don’t really want to do. It’s worth thinking carefully about.

              First draft of the first novel? Well played? How many words are we talking? I’m working through a friends third or fourth draft at the moment – straightening out the language and whatnot – I’d love to take a look at it at somepoint!

              I’m not writing full-time, I’m not even sure if it’s really possible anymore. Twenty years back writers could just about pay their rent and afford a few drinks in the evening from book reviews/writing but nowadays? Now you’re lucky to get paid at all 😦 seems everyone wants to be a writer! I’m working part time to pay the bills, then spend my evenings/mornings reading, writing poems/novel, editing others work, attending events (for both myself and for Sabotage) and generally trying to get by.

              I can imagine that being and UG gives you a good amount of time for you’re own writing. What kind of things do you write? Have you been published recently?

              1. Well, his more popular offerings. I’ve read about 8 of his now, so I’m constantly feeling I’m going to hit the bottom, and end up reading the books less well thought of. Happily, to date, I’m still enjoying most things of his I read, so fingers crossed it continues.
                ‘Sisyphus’ sounds good – I don’t particularly read for leisure, but more to expand my own mind (although hopefully enjoying the process along the way), if that makes sense and doesn’t sound to portentous .
                Thanks for the luck. The route to my UG has been a bit a slightly slower journey than for some, so I’ve had a while to work out what I want in a broader sense. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel by the end of three years’ (+/- hard) work on the degree, but at the moment I’m thinking I’d like to go on to further study, although whether that’d be English or CW, I don’t know.
                Thanks very much – it’s about 50,000 words, and I’m aiming for 60,000 as it’s a bit dense, and I don’t think anything longer would be readable. I’ve got the structure of the thing together now, I just need to go through it and work up certain aspects. Hopefully then I’ll have something that will give people a fair idea of what I’m trying to / can achieve. I’m a way off that at the moment, I think.
                I’ve never been published, and actually, the whole idea of publication appeals to me less and less the more people I talk to (if that doesn’t sound daft – I’d certainly not turn down the opportunity). I think I’m just happy scribbling away for my own pleasure at the moment. I wish I could say I had a lot of free time to write, but sadly I’m working a lot of hours to help fund my studies, plus enjoying what could be described as a social, so don’t have as much writing time as I’d like.
                I certainly think you’re right; difficult to write full-time (did you read the article in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago?) and, for me anyway, I’m not sure it’s a lifestyle that would suit me enormously. It certainly sounds like you’ve got your finger in a lot of pots! A lot of (aspiring) writers I talk to seem to get on like that – I suppose it’s the way to do it.
                Reading for other people must be interesting – I guess like a lot of things, trying to help others improve teaches you a fair bit in the process too? How do you find writing in the morning / evening around work? I guess it must be difficult to find the energy / focus a lot of the time?
                How do you find events? I’m horrible at ‘networking’, although to be fair, I’m not much cop at communication of any description? I’ve been to a few literary dos, but I always feel so out of place, and like I’d rather go and hide in the nearest cupboard. Could just be me that 😛
                What’s Sabotage?

                1. Eight? Wow… You must really be a fan. Have you read ‘Night Train’? I haven’t, but remember getting an awful lot of copies of it in when I worked in a bookshop a few months back.

                  Doesn’t sound too portentous at all – I’m similarly attracted to challenging and mind expanding texts, particularly philosophical novels (Auster, Camus, Sartre, et al) and postmodern fiction.

                  I’m not sure anyone really knows what direction they’re heading in or what they want to do at any point in time! We just sort of bumble around, say yes to things that sound interesting and try to avoid those we find unattractive. This applies to choosing whether to study at a higher level but also, of course, to the modules within higher study should you choose to continue your studies.

                  Go for 60k – In my opinion editing down is far easier than having to add passages. Editing is a very different mindset from that of creating – so it’s best to try and minimize the amount of times you shift between the two. The problem with adding elements is that it’s a creative action and it can be quite hard to blend the new sections with the old. I’m working on a long Sci Fi novel at the moment and I’ve just hit about 90k, which is super big and wayyyyyy too long, but I know that it’ll be easier to edit because of that, and I’ll be happy to tear away large chunks of the text without disturbing the blend or flow of the narrative in any massive way.

                  Just keep editing, send it to some critically minded friends; old student buddies are great. As for publishing… Yes, I think it can be both a good and a bad thing and that you have to be ready for it before you engage with it. I’ve not yet had an awful experience with it (though I’ve only been published in a few small magazines), the worst experience is simply that of getting a no, or not getting a response at all. Competitions I’m a little more wary of in that very often you’re spending money to enter, and that makes me a little uneasy.

                  You shouldn’t feel guilty about not having as much time as you’d like. You can encourage yourself to write, but you shouldn’t really force it as it’ll show through in your style. Whatever you do though, don’t stop writing. Once you stop it can be hard to start again. Can you drop me a link to that Guardian piece? Sadly, I haven’t read it.

                  Reading for others is very helpful, as are writers groups. As you say teaching others does indeed help you to understand your own habits, and ultimately benefits your own writing. I actually lost my nerve a little with a fellow who turns up to one of the writing groups I attend and spends all his time on his phone. He doesn’t read anyone else’s work, and that shows in his writing. You have to balance these things though. At the moment I’m doing too many things for other people and not enough for myself – I’m becoming more of an editor than a writer – which is not what I want. I’ll learn from this though, and pick up less projects in the future!

                  Writing around work is ‘okay’. I’m not particularly good at writing in the morning (other than website bits/articles, which I seem to be fine writing), and the evenings can be hard because you’re tired from work and all you want to do is sit back and watch a good film. The actual act of writing isn’t too bad; sitting down at the computer after work isn’t all that hard. The hard part is trying to find something to write about, or finding the time to think about your plot or your characters. Sometimes I open up the folders I have that contain all of the bits I wrote when I was studying – ideas, thoughts, lines, stanzas, stories – and I’m amazed at the output I had then. Most of the stuff is scraps, but it’s evident that during my time in academia the work I was doing was keeping my mind very active, and I was constantly coming up with new ideas. The problem with work as you no doubt know is that it rarely requires creative thinking, there’s no time in the day to muse on things, whereas at uni I was always in the library pulling books I’d never heard of, reading everything I could and thus generating crazy ideas.

                  Now all of that creative thinking has to happen in a very small space of time and that really really affects my ability to write poems. It feels like I just don’t have time to observe things like I used to, and, as such, my poetic output has dropped significantly. The prose is fine at the moment because it’s not so intense a process, but at some stage I’m going to have to find a way of making time for poetic observation. Perhaps I’ll apply for some residencies or something?

                  Ack, networking is an awful word. I think thinking of it as ‘networking’ is the first mistake. Basically, just goe along to stuff you’re interested in and take notes. You don’t even have to talk to anyone; just go, and if you really enjoyed it then blog something about it afterwards. If you blog it or talk about it on social media then search for the names of those performing at the event and let them know you enjoyed it. It’s not really networking, more like creative support. I’m not really that keen on approaching people out of the blue, so instead I communicate with people online through Twitter and such, or email, and that way when I see them again we’ve already got a talking point.

                  I just want to hear other people’s stories, I want to hear the voices of those who are as passionate about reading and writing as I am. Whenever I go to these events I think of it that way. It’s easy to think that there’s no time and that you have to make the most out of every second at one of these events, that somehow it’s dog eat dog or something or a competition. Maybe it is? I don’t know, but if it is I’m not playing ball. Networking isn’t important, writing is – so long as you keep writing you’ll be fine. The other stuff like networking and marketing will come when you need it.

                  Sabotage Reviews – it’s a website that publishes reviews of poetry events and books. I used to post reviews of all sorts of things here on my blog, but now I’ve started outsourcing it. Sabotage send me chapbooks (for free) and encourage me to go to events and write reviews of them. It’s really really good in that it’s really got me out and about and I’ve met a lot of local poets doing it. The chapbooks are also super helpful in that it gives me a good idea of the poetry scene and helps to inform my own writing!

                  I’m still trying to outsource other things. I used to post gaming stuff up on here too but now all of that goes to N3rdabl3. I’ve written a couple of bits for other places – Arc, Cheat Code Central – but I think the next thing I want to do is outsource book reviews and observations. I was going to contact the Guardian about this, but I think late last year they kicked out the book review section or something? I’ll have to have a look around online. Perhaps in the meantime I’ll start throwing my reviews up on Amazon and Goodreads and see what happens, eh?

                  So what about yourself – is your writing purely creative or are you into article writing too? I took a quick look at your site yesterday and it seems like you’re quite into reviewing books too (my computer is dying at the moment, so browsing is limited to my phone. Not ideal!).

  3. Haha, yeah, I am a bit. I just really enjoy the way he writes. I haven’t, but it’s only a matter of time the rate I’m going at the moment. I’ve just started ‘The Second Plane’, which will be the first of his non-fiction not related to writing I will have read.
    Yeah, that’s pretty much how I look at reading, but I’m expanding my interests all the time – I still feel like there’s a lot in literature for me to discover (I guess there always will be, but I’m still so early into my journey).
    That sounds familiar – I’m quite a bumbler! Occasionally I try to plan things out in a slightly more structured way, but I always end up veering off on flights of fancy, so I’m pretty happy to settle for doing what feels right/attractive at the time. I do admire people with real direction though – people who come into uni knowing what job they’re aiming to get when they leave, and exactly how to get there. Not exciting, but sometimes quite appealing.
    I’m terrible at editing: I only have two modes, either dismissing everything as appalling or deciding I’m the new Nabokov, twice as good as Dickens, and ready to give Joyce a run for his money (sadly, the latter is by a very, very long way, nearer the reality) 😉 But that’s all part of the learning process for me. This will be the first substantial piece of my own writing that I’ve edited. (I’ve helped other people with theirs, and this has been useful but feels like a very different process at the moment.)
    My hope is that I’ll round the ms up to about 60,000 and be relatively happy with it so I can share it with a wider range of people without feeling that I’m giving them something that I’m not fully behind myself. I’ve been sharing it along the way with a friend, who’s been writing a novel of her own too, and that’s definitely proved useful. Sooner or later, though, it’s the wider world I’ve got to approach.
    I haven’t entered any comps yet, although our lecturers often send links to various things through. Have you done much of that yourself? Any good?
    I really notice the difference between times when I’m writing regularly (normally for the blog) and not, and it’s really surprising, to me at least, how much difference this makes to my creative writing. I think that’s why I get a bit het up when I’m not finding the time to write – I feel like I’m eroding the experience I’ve already gained. – this is the Guardian article about the life of an impoverished author. It’s hard for me to gauge as an outsider, but seems to reflect what I hear. Other people I’ve shared it with seem to find it depressing, but, oddly, I don’t. Not sure why. (Although it definitely doesn’t make me jump for joy, I think I’ve just never expected to be able to survive off writing alone.)
    I would definitely be unhappy with the guy in your writers’ group. My friend and I get together once a week, and it’s incredibly useful, but only because we both put the effort in and support each other. It’s only natural that people are more absorbed in their own work than in other people’s, but not looking at other people’s stuff really misses the point of a group, and means a real loss for the guy as well, I guess. I know it definitely helps me to think about other people’s writing, provided they’re writing with an ethos that I can understand/appreciate.
    I definitely know that there are times when I’ve ended up doing too many things around writing – like editing or helping people get their books onto Amazon, etc. – that’s really distracted and detracted from my own writing. It’s a fun balance to strike. I really agree with you about having the time to spend thinking about ideas, and letting them grow when you’re not writing. That, for me, is the big thing about getting wrapped up in other projects; you end up thinking about them when you could be thinking about your writing. Psychic space is a big issue for creative writers, I think. I have a book somewhere full of my ideas, but it’s amazing how these trail off when you focus on one big project or other things. I’d definitely like to de-clutter my life at some point – if only for a period – to try and get that amount free creative space in my life again.
    The idea of residencies has never really appealed to me that much – I think I like the idea of my writing developing naturally around my life, without feeling like I’m putting a concentrated effort into making things happen. Of course, that might be a little contradictory on my part, I guess I’m still working out what works for me. I’m pretty good at writing in the morning, in fact, it’s normally my best time when I’m in the right frame of mind. Evenings I get tired and sloppy.
    I reckon you’re right on ‘networking’ – it’s something that I’m definitely still learning a lot about. I think my main problem is that I’m rubbish at small talk – I either want ‘big talk’ or to mess around like an idiot, and neither of those options seem to go down particularly well in most situations 😉 I really agree about wanting to hear others’ take on writing – that’s by far the best reason to ‘network’ at all. Most of the things I’ve been to, though, seem to have a large contingent of publishers and people who talk about literature in a way I don’t really connect with.
    Twitter, though, is a god-send. In fact, most online tools are great for me. I feel like they allow me to be that slightly more professional person without feeling false or stupid. Then I can save idiocy for my actual friends in real life (poor bastards).
    Sabotage Reviews sounds excellent – particularly if it’s helping you link up with other poets. That’s one of the best things about being ‘connected’ online, the chance to meet people you’d never have met without all the interconnectedness of the web. I’ve posted a few short things to sites like Amazon and Goodreads, but have always been happier keeping to my own little corner of the web, scribbling away there, and not feeling that I’m exposing my work to anyone who isn’t at least halfway interested in it. I’ve pretty much stuck to writing book reviews, although I did try and write about football for a bit. You realise how different it is – I guess you might feel the same writing about games? – and I think I’ve barely settled on how I’d like to write about books yet, let alone anything else. The one good thing about posting on Amazon is the wider audience, the chance to get responses from people you wouldn’t normally reach, and who can tell you what’s not working for them about the way you write.
    My blog is really the only place I write at the moment – pretty much exclusively reviews. I’ve always felt like I’m a bit behind a lot of readers in terms of reading the classics, etc. so the blog has always been a place to drive me forward and make sure I’m reading in a structured way. I’d love it if I managed to build up a circle of friends who enjoyed books in the same way I do through it, but, like most of my writing, it’s for me first and foremost.

      1. They did! Haha, I’m impressed it’s still on your to-do list; don’t worry if time gets the better of you, I’m sure there’s plenty of more worthy things for you to turn your pen to. 🙂

    1. ‘People who come into uni knowing what job they’re aiming to get when they leave, and exactly how to get there. Not exciting, but sometimes quite appealing’ – I know what you mean, actually. To have such a solid idea of where you want to be and how you’re going to get there is pretty enticing… at the same time though even the smallest upset could completely alter the rest of your plans, thereby undoing everything you’d planned. I can’t imagine that feeling pleasant!

      ‘Either dismissing everything as appalling or deciding I’m the new Nabokov, twice as good as Dickens, and ready to give Joyce a run for his money (sadly, the latter is by a very, very long way, nearer the reality) 😉 But that’s all part of the learning process for me.’ – I experience the first, and never the second! I’ve been told that I’m far far too harsh on myself regarding my writing, but I find it better to be harsh than to be too kind. I think you will get used to it – and I think editing others’ work it a helpful way of building up a good editorial eye. If it feels different editing your own work, then what I’d say is try to distance yourself from it. If you’re too close to your own text then you won’t be able to make out the errors. Hand it to someone else to take a look at, or put it on the side for a short time. When you come back to it you’ll start seeing it from a fresher – more alien perspective.

      I haven’t entered much in the way of competitions – I think of them as the next step up from getting published in lit. magazines, almost like the next level, but I think they’re pretty dangerous. They lure you in with the promise of publication and big bucks – but there’s almost always an entrance fee, and you really have to think about how many other people will be entering and what the judges are going to be looking for. So, for example, there’s no way I’d enter a super-hot short story or novel competition right now, because my writing is not sharp enough in the slightest, and thousands and thousands of other writers will be entering those – things like the Bath Short Story Comp (you see it everywhere, and if you see it everywhere then you know that everyone else is seeing it everywhere). I have entered a couple of quieter competitions, but haven’t got anywhere yet – it also feels pleasant to be giving small presses and organisations the entrance fee, because you know it’s going towards publishing the winner, or paying for the prize (rather than towards advertising).

      I’ve just entered one of my short stories for one of these small competitions, so we’ll see how that pans out (I doubt I’ll get anywhere, but again it feels great knowing the money has gone to a good place). I’d encourage others to submit more heavily to magazines than gambling on competitions though. I tend to do it this way – enter one competition, whilst also sending other things out to magazines – that way, if you don’t win you might still find yourself in print in a magazine. It softens the blow a little!

      ‘I think I’ve just never expected to be able to survive off writing alone.’ – With you there. Me neither, though there’s a difference between not getting paid for your writing and getting an unfair deal/pushed around my editors/companies. It can be really dog-eat-dog out there for writers, and I’m not really into that, so I’m pretty much putting that to one side. I’ve got better things to do than lick some editors arse for a few pound coins.

      ‘I have a book somewhere full of my ideas, but it’s amazing how these trail off when you focus on one big project or other things. I’d definitely like to de-clutter my life at some point – if only for a period – to try and get that amount free creative space in my life again.’ – Same here, though the important thing about the ideas in the book is that they exist in something – lots of people don’t even bother writing them down, and that’s the worse thing. There is a kind of pressure though to owning and having a book like that – all those ideas sitting there, waiting to be written… I just tend to write in the book and try to avoid reading through the other things I’ve written inside unless I’m not currently writing something. Other wise it distracts, as you say.

      ‘I reckon you’re right on ‘networking’ – it’s something that I’m definitely still learning a lot about. I think my main problem is that I’m rubbish at small talk – I either want ‘big talk’ or to mess around like an idiot, and neither of those options seem to go down particularly well in most situations.’ Haha! I think we are rather similar, you and I! Researching people can help, though that often feels a little odd… I guess you just end up getting a feel for it? You kind of have to find out what people are into, and then steer the conversation that way until a passionate conversation forms.

      ‘You realise how different it is – I guess you might feel the same writing about games?’ – Yep! Agree as well about the different audiences, it can be both eye-opening and horrifying!

      Told you I’d get round to it 😉

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