I got a call from one of my favourite writer friends this morning.

He sounded morose.

“I can’t write anymore,” he said.  “I’ve lost it. The knack. It’s gone.”

I’d just that morning finished rereading Mal Peet’s most recent book, Life: An Exploded Diagram. Which is why he phoned. Because I’d phoned him a few hours earlier to tell him how utterly brilliant it still was on second reading.

“Yeah,” I said sympathetically. “So what else is new?”

“No, you don’t understand. I’m finished. I’m through.”  The voice on the end of the phone trailed off in a moan of self-pity.

“It’s a passing phase. Happens to me all the time.”

“Well, darling, for YOU it’s obviously a passing phase. For me, well. It’s curtains.”

“No, it’s not,” I said. “Buck up. You’re a brilliant writer. I can’t wait to read what you write next.”

“If only,” he sighed. “Still, mustn’t grumble. I’ve had a good run. A few decent books. A person shouldn’t expect more than that.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake. Stop moaning and get back to work. You’re talking nonsense.”

“I know,” he said. “Anyway, how the hell are you?”

“Haven’t written a word all week.”

“Never mind,” he said kindly. “You will.”

“I know. So will you.”

“I know,” he said.

“Of course you do,” I said.

And then we both hung up and tiddly-pommed back to the task at hand.





9 thoughts on “I’ll be there for you…

  1. Tony 8 years ago

    Funny how all you bloody writers know each other. Mutual backscratching, not what you know it’s who you know, etc etc.
    Hope you said hello to him from me.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      We were talking about starting adoption procedures for you. Thought we could try to bring you up properly this time. Though not sure who would set the good example.

  2. Mariam Vossough 8 years ago

    Writing is a disease. Sometimes you’re in remission, other times you have a full blown attack.

    1. Meg 8 years ago


  3. bookwitch 8 years ago

    Neither of you strike me as tiddly-pommers. Was that really you, and are you sure he was Mal Peet?

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      That’s how little you know, Witch. I could tiddly-pom for Britain.

  4. Katharine 7 years ago

    Oh, I’m so glad you recommended Life: An Exploded Diagram. I’ve just finished it. Wow. I’d always ignored Mal Peet before because I thought he just wrote about football but that was so good I’m going to have to read the football ones now.

    1. Meg Rosoff 7 years ago

      The football ones are great — and I couldn’t care less about football per se.

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