Many writers are nicer than many other people

That may not be true – it may simply be that I meet writers, and as a result, know how nice they are, but – as a swingeing and ugly generalisation that I will not be able to defend in any sensible fashion – I find writers to be nicer, on the whole, than executives in charities, which was my last real job, or than people running ethical businesses, which was my last but one real job, and much nicer than academics, with whom I worked for years and who were generally funny, devious and not people to turn your back on.

And that was a sentence of horrible proportions. I shall try not to do it again.

The point being that Joanne Harris is a busy, accomplished and thoroughly famous writer, who had no reason on earth to drop into my blog and express her concerns about my concerns about a contest she’s judging. But she did. Isn’t that really very nice indeed? I am humbled.

And my good friends Bunny Goodjohn and Mary McCluskey have been keeping my spirits up by sharing, honestly, their own ups and downs as writers, which not only makes me feel better about my own ups and downs but also reminds me what a wonderful ocean of talent there is out there, how wonderful it is to be part of it, and how lucky I am to know such great people who make the world a better place, word by word.

And my rarely met, but often emailed, publication twin, Daniel Kaysen, has been emailing me back and forth about comics (okay, you can call them graphic novels if you’re feeling insecure about reading them) and reminded me of the joys of the bargain bin, where you get five comics in a plastic bag so you can’t see the middle three and they could be rubbish, but could also be gems. And not only does it turn out that we both love(d) Swamp Thing, but I’ve been on a real comic jag, discovering and rediscovering old favourites and realising that they are often my primal writing sources, and loving the reminder that deep inside my literary persona is a teenage Goth, chewing on black fingernails and planning mayhem.

PS The picture is a Hellboy cover, if you’re not a comic reader, or even a reader of comics.


  1. Jim Murdoch
    18th February 2009

    I drop into your blog LOADS more than Joanne Harris so does that make me a much nicer person then. I think so!

    BTW I’m always one to acknowledge my debt to the comics I grew up with. Swamp Thing was a HUGE favourite and I was collecting it just when Alan Moore began his run. In a recent blog I was totally honest where I got the idea to give myself a cameo in my second novel, it was after reading the Animal Man issue where Grant Morrison does just that.

    I tend to stay clear these days – they’ve got awfully expensive – but I do pop into Forbidden Planet every now and then and let the kid in me out for a bit.

    Did you ever see a comic called Shade the Changing Man penned by Peter Milligan? Every now and then they’d do a Dr Who and kill him off just to bring him back as another character – and once as a woman! Marvelous. Especially when s/he gets his/her period.

  2. Kay Sexton
    18th February 2009

    Jim, you’re definitely one of the nicest people that I know only virtually, so there!

    I was just talking about Alan Moore (specifically his Lost Girls pornography) – small world eh? I got three bags of comics from Freecycle which gave me a total comic jones all over again, so I’m borrowing loads of graphic novels from the library, sort of methodone therapy I suppose. Not the same as a new instalment of a favourite comic though. Not by a long chalk.

    Never saw Shade – sounds like I should track it down.


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