The Blank Page

Don’t get it right, get it written. – Anon

Ideas can be shy, the best of them, the good ones.

And there’s a difference, do you agree, between the mental white-noise that goes on, and an actual lightbulb moment? And they come in different shapes, sizes and guises, they come from who-knows-where. And you never quite know … whether it’s minced recycled lower mind you’re dealing with, or elevated inspiration. All you can do is follow and find out.

I’m writing a book, I’ve got the page numbers done. – Steven Wright

I heard a story from Peter Whelan once. He was a British playwright. I’d just been commissioned to write a play at the time. Here’s how the dialogue went:

Peter: I was working on a play. This was on commission too. I didn’t have the ending. It just wouldn’t come. Then, one day I was walking along in Leicester Square, and I had this idea. And the idea was so tremendous, so extraordinary, that I actually staggered. Staggered I did. At the enormity, the profundity, the grace.

Me: Wow.

Peter: So I rushed home – and do you think I wrote it down? I didn’t. No. I went to bed. Slept well too. And in the morning …

Me: (Aghast) … It wasn’t there?!

Peter: No, it was still there, it just wasn’t any good.


He got through in the end, and he wrote some smashing plays.

I love being a writer, what I can’t stand is the paperwork – Peter de Vries

That stuff about the perspiration/inspiration ratio …

Writing: the coal-face alright, when it’s just you, the subconscious and the keyboard …

4 thoughts on “The Blank Page

  1. Terence Clarke

    Dear Colin, I am now, unbelievably, 80. I have a very Clear idea of what 80 is, and I am not it!

    Peter Whelan: how good to know him. I’ve directed The Accrington Pals twice (NIDA and WAAPA)。I have seen The Herbal Bed in two different productions. A great playwright.

    A Chorus of Disapproval went pretty well. More of that anon

    Love to you both, Terry


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