Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Roald Dahl's Shed

I know I tend to rant. It's just the way I am. And if you are that way, there are so many things to rant about. Like, for example, Roald Dahl's shed. I'm sick of hearing about it. Every time I do a reading , I get asked the same question: 'I've heard that Roald Dahl used to do all his writing in a shed at the end of the garden. Do you have any special place where you like to do your writing?'.

Recently, I heard Philip Pullman on the radio admitting that he, too, does his work in a shed. Now, I have the greatest admiration for Philip. Not only is he a truly wonderful writer, he's also a really decent man. Despite being almost overwhelmed by demands upon his time from every quarter, he still manages to read a fellow author's novel and offer a helpful comment. So no criticism intended. It's just that I wish he hadn't said that about the shed. It simply reinforces the idea that you have to take yourself off to some rather eccentric place in order to write.

It's a myth, I promise you. Like the idea that every real author produces his or her first draft with a fountain pen. (I've overheard a Head Teacher telling her pupils just that. 'Nobody could possibly produce quality writing on a computer,' she smugly insisted) Well, I'd like to go on record as saying that I always use a computer and the only place that I go to do my writing is inside my head. But come to think of it, I suppose that might also be considered a rather eccentric place.

Brian's latest book is The Gallowglass, the second in The Promises Of Dr Sigmundus trilogy

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