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What Quentin Bell said – further to my Facebook comments …

On my Facebook page today I have put:

” ” Quote of the week: “A book is so much a part of one’s life that in delivering it to the public one feels as if one were pushing one’s own child out into the traffic.”
Quentin Bell, nephew of Virginia Woolf and author of a number of biographies including the fabulous ‘Charleston’
Yes, Quentin, that is exactly how one feels about one’s book! ” ”


You see, it’s kind of a weird thing, but as you write, the book/fag packet/old envelope becomes a living thing.  And like a child (one’s own child!  love it!) it seems so fragile, so vulnerable, so at the mercy of strong winds and icy chills.  And once you’ve bundled up said child/book to send it off into the world all alone, there is a certain amount of anxiety that attends its imminent return, and you hang around the front door, or the post box, wringing your hands, hoping for a glimpse, a clue, anything to tell you (or to tell one, I should say) how your baby is faring.  and of course, until the parcel is dumped in your greenhouse with a note through the door saying the postman has left you a package, you have no idea what is happening.

Sometimes I look at my piles of paper, and think, there you are, all snug and safe, no nasty people are going to hurt you if you stay here with Mummy.

Of course, if I’m really honest with myself (usually about two o’clock in the morning), it’s me that is afraid of being hurt.  And it’s me who is afraid of being unappreciated/talentless/unsuccessful/undiscovered.  So really, this manuscript is an extension of myself, my hopes, my dreams.  If I do want something to happen in my life, if I do want something to change, to have any chance of being appreciated, gaining and increasing and developing my talent, of being successful and being discovered, I have got to make myself do it – I’ve got to step out into the traffic.

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