We writers cannot live in isolation. We often think we can, we convince ourselves we do. Like many of my writer friends and colleagues, I spend hours each day in my own little world, deep in thought, planning story-lines, creating and manipulating characters. It’s all too easy to believe that I am divorced from reality as I build worlds and imagine conversations.
But I’m not. We’re not. We are in fact very closely linked with the world around us, necessarily so, since even our fictions must be built on some kind of reality. We people-watch, we observe, then we go back to our desks and computers screens, or our comfy sofas and our notebooks, and we report what we have seen and heard. Sometimes we change the outcome, or the setting, or the players in our dramas, to create a more useful impact in our work.
Years ago, on a holiday to Scotland, tour guides would always say, ‘And over there you can see the Black Isle. It’s not an isle but a peninsula.’
That’s what I am. Connected to the mainland of the world around me by a narrow but crucial and strong strip of reality, not an island, not remote, separate, autonomous or isolated. But an integral part, connected, associated, a partner in the journey. I depend on this connection for my work, and without it I wouldn’t be able to shut myself away and write.