22 December 2006

Usual nonsense in the run-up to Chrimbo - all good though. Lamb or duck? Chicken or goose? Handily it's just us so we've gone for our favourite cut from Godfrey's - a nice bit of lamb.
Six years married yesterday and guess what - we both forgot! Don't know what that says. Likely that we were a bit too wrapped up in winding things up for the hols to notice. B was preoccupied by prep for her friend Abi's wedding which took place today at St.Paul's in Covent Garden, aka The Actors' Church - Abs is a writer and comedian and she was getting hitched to R who's in the same line. B's just gone back in to town for the knees-up. For my part I signed off and sent a rehearsal draft of The May Queen in the early afternoon before hot-footing it over to Soho Square to see a man about a book. We had a very convivial time as it turned out, repairing to The Pillars of Hercules round the corner for a drink and a chat. We were talking about the Monsterists, and big plays in general, when he asked me if I saw James Phillips's The Rubenstein Kiss, when it was on at Hampstead. Talking with him about it I was stung into remembering that I'd been none too kind about James's (subsequently award-winning) play on the blog at the time, and though I sought there to mitigate my criticism by pointing up the difficulties of working on a big canvas, and that perhaps we do just learn better by doing, and so good luck to him - even so I've had, and still have, a growing sense of guilt for having been quite so sniffy about a fellow writer's piece in such a public forum. I was further prompted to address this by comments on Fin Kennedy's all-new blogspot blog, in which one anonymous soul is moved by FK's criticisms of two recent new works to say that she does feel it's important that writers support each other. Well I'm down with that, actually, for any number of reasons, not least of which is the principle upheld by David Eldridge in his contretemps with a pseudonymous critic and fellow writer during the run of Market Boy this summer, that a lack of generosity is tantamount to self-harming for the writer. Or at least self-defeating. Related is the quote I think attributable to Nicholas Wright, when enumerating the "enemies of writing". Number one is envy. Number two is success. Both these pitfalls are dangerous precisely because they gnaw at one of the writer's essential qualities, the ability to empathise. I've come to the belief that the antidote to both these enemies is an active kind of openness, and generosity (and I'll fight any b@%*?!& who disagrees with me!). You can see where this is going, perhaps. I would here like to offer James Phillips my sincerest apology for not thinking these things through much sooner.


Anonymous said...

i think an honest, but generous response is more useful than one that papers over what you think

these guidelines, though prissy, are surprisingly useful


sbs said...

Darn, link not working now. Skim read it once, when it did... But thanks for the thought, appreciated.