Have you ever had the ‘what would you do if you won the lottery?’ conversation? The ultimate rags-to-riches situation (ignoring the fact I don’t play the lottery), you’ve got millions and millions of pounds, so what would you do?
A number of people who know enough about me to know I’m a writer say ‘I assume you’d give up work and write full time.’ They always seem vaguely affronted when I tell them I wouldn’t: presumably it makes them feel as if they are not the shrewd judges of character they consider themselves to be.
I try to explain: writing is a solitary activity but what you write is all about people. If you are on your own the whole time, you won’t get the insights into people’s lives that comes from being around a community, any community. In the last few months at work, things that have happened to people in my immediate team have included an emergency operation on their father; a flood at home; a promotion; a bereavement; a fall and two birthdays with associated fun. There’s so much life going on and I love hearing about it.
Oh, says the person who asked the original question. Does that mean you write about me then? You know they desperately want you to say yes, so they can be mock-offended but I find it’s far more fun when you tell them (truthfully) no, because no one person fits the story you are trying to tell.
They normally find someone else to talk to at this point…