Five Questions: Self-Winding
1. Why do you blog?
I started because, for a time, I was caught fast at home and it brought me the outside world. Now I can’t seem to stop. Though sometimes tiresome, the exercise of regular writing brings discipline and creative pleasure. It is admittedly a quest for audience approval and its thread of journalism rather pleasantly alters perceptions of daily life. To blog validates one’s participation in the blogs of others.
2. Which author and/or book has most influenced you?
Shakespeare (though I did consider the twin polarities of St Paul and Frances Hodgson Burnett!). WS gave me my teenage breakthrough to the wonder of metaphor, of apposite language. His work puts the chance of miraculous performances in the hands of actors and I have seen my share. Listening to voices such as Gielgud’s explore the beauty of his verse has given me enormous pleasure. He is my complete package – read, act, study, sing, quote, watch.
I have read Eliot’s The Waste Land a thousand times and still go back to it. It took me deeper into poetry than I had been before and I regard it as a key piece in my reading. A challenging tissue of elaborate literary embroidery if ever there was one. I derive from it both delight in the imagery (‘bats with baby faces in the violet light’) and a librarianly challenge in chasing up its complex allusions (though now they seem a mite pretentious).
3. Which three blogs do you most visit?
Big n’juicy at: http://www.bignjuicy.co.uk/
Dick Jones’ Patteran Pages at: http://patteran.typepad.com/patteran_pages/
F*R*L (No longer available)
4. Why do you read fiction?
For years novels were plankton that I trawled with open gills; odd weekly diets of Attwood, Allende, Rendell and Rankin. I found eventually that I was retaining very little nourishment, simply using them to go somewhere else for a while. I switched to biography, travel, social commentary, feeling that they gave more grist. Now I’m becoming a fiction recidivist, anxious to be told stories again. I have been stockpiling the recommendations of friends – Roth, Proulx and a list of many names unread. I suppose the central thing that one seeks is the mental snap that comes when a novelist’s style fits exactly to one’s literary taste. And escape, of course.
5. What makes you laugh?
Wit, puns, wry observations of life. But the pinnacle, amazingly, was a four-hour virtuoso performance by Ken Dodd, by which I was made quite ill with too much laughter.
Anna Scott blogs at Self-Winding, which can be found here: http://www.patriciascott.org/winding/