Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The customer is always irrelevant

Among the many writers (of varying degrees of up-their-own-arse-ness) discussing their craft in The Guardian a few days back, it’s the late, glorious Beryl Bainbridge who says the most by analysing the least:
I don’t write for readers; I don’t think many writers do – I don’t think any. They say they do, don't they? But... well, I only write for myself, and when somebody says: “Oh, your book has given me so much pleasure,” I just think, “How peculiar”. I don't know what to say. Of course I don't say that; I smile and say “How nice” – but I think I’d have written books whether they were published or not. I just liked writing.

So presumably the whole concept of vanity publishing left her entirely befuddled.

7 comments:

Sam said...

I really enjoyed getting lost in their creativity, and then reaching the comments was like a balloon getting pricked. Beryl does seem fun though.

Charles Frith said...

Can I call her an arsehole? I only write so people can pretend they don't read my blog when they meet me. I find that really satisfying.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Quentin Crisp would concur and used to say 'Books are for writing, not reading.'

That said, I think he was pretty delighted to become a publishing sensation, even if he did have to wait until he was 75!

Tim Footman said...

Think that's the problem, Sam. They like to get lost in their own creativity, but won't allow anyone else in.

You have a blog, Charles? Why didn't you say?

He was indeed a publishing sensation, Laura, but I suspect the thing he enjoyed was that people didn't point him out as "the author Quentin Crisp", but just as "Quentin Crisp." Did he ever meet Beryl, I wonder? I reckon they'd have got along, in a brittle way.

expat@large said...

She's not quite Jacqueline Howett is she, good old Beryl?

Tim Footman said...

Nobody is, e@l, nobody is.

The militant working boy said...

I write so that I can call myself a writer and make people think that I wear purple velvet jackets and live in a quaint home filled with intriguing artifacts and that when I give them that "look" they will think that I understand them better than they themselves do.