Apparently underneath the surface appearance everything is connected with everything else. Apparently the quicker you are in attaching verbal and mental labels to things the shallower your reality becomes, the more deadened. 'Deadened' is how I felt in academia. Marilynne Robinson, in an interview in the Guardian, says it was only after she had finished her PhD that she became aware of "the essential shallowness" of her education. She says: "I would try to write something, and I would think: I don't know if I really believe that. I don't know what this language means."               

    Tim Parks, in Teach Us to Sit Still, writes: 'without words it's hard to refer to something that isn't here in front of us, now.' But even saying this, even stating the aim of dissociate oneself from words is still falling into the trap of them. As Parks says: 'The fact is, as soon as you start with words you're locked into a debate, forced to take a position with respect to others, confirming or rebutting what has been said before. nothing you say stands alone or is complete in the present: it has its roots in the past and pushes feelers into the future....words are never still. The opening of a sentence projects you forwards; the end demands you have the beginning in mind. One paragraph leads to another and this page to the next....thoughts run ahead of my fingers. Driven on...As words and thought are eased out of the mind, so the self weakens. There is no narrative to feed it. When the words are gone, whether you...are young or old, man or woman, poor or rich isn't, in the silence, in the darkness, in the stillness, so important. Like ghosts, angels, gods, 'self', it turns out, is an idea we invented, a story we tell ourselves. It needs language to survive. The words create meaning.'

Words are simply another manifestation of the addiction of 'doing', of looking outside ourselves for some stimulus, sustenance, appreciation, understanding - filling ourselves up. Ultimately, all our requests are met with silence. Everything we said, were going to say, have said, and will say - and everything we did not say, do not say and will not say - comes to the same thing. It is all one, and none of it matters - in both senses.

     In any case, this is one reason why I wanted to stop writing. The other reasons are that it was making my ill and I did it for the wrong reasons. I also wanted to stop writing because I wished, naively or not, not to identify with anything anymore.

  Why I Didn't Want    

To Write Anymore


stories and things



leaving the text alone

Beckett and mysticism

why real directors are writers

Dr Seuss and Tom McCarthy

why the novelist's job is harder than God's

the thing about autobiographical fiction

how to write a successful novel

George Herbert and Judith McPherson

the value of not doing

thoughts on TLOD

don't judge a book

things I was thinking when writing TLOD

time, words, are the enemy

the master's voice


why I didn't want to write anymore

the value of not knowing

when do you give up on a book?


what makes a book great

divine fancy


time, identity and fiction