At Cúirt this weekend I was impressed by Colum McCann, whose writing I love. It’s a risky business, going along to listen to someone whose work you admire – they don’t always measure up, in person. I needn’t have worried. CMcC said quite a few things worth thinking about, among them being that he has no patience with people who complain that ‘writing is difficult’. Building roads is difficult, he said. Setting up an event like this one is difficult. Everything’s difficult. For him, writing means that you sit in the chair and fight, but … he quoted DonDeLillo: ‘we are the benefactors of occasional revelation’. And look at the life we get, he said: travelling to festivals and readings, meeting new people. Looking back to an earlier post, about the arts and the economy, and all the talk about financial survival, it is important to remember the unquantifiable benefits of being a writer and a reader, not least being the company we keep, both in our minds and at events like readings and festivals.
CMcC also spoke about the imaginative risks writers take. He quoted Kurt Vonnegut: ‘We (writers) have to continually be jumping off cliffs, and developing our wings on the way down.’