With a heap of books waiting for their turn on a shelf, I had determined to be ruthless, but it’s hard to overcome a natural instinct for hoarding. I decided to compromise, and rip out pages worthy of saving. That’s how I found myself rereading an interview Debbie Taylor did with Helen Dunmore for Mslexia, back in 2002. It concluded with this quote from Dunmore:
The more you do creatively, the more you can do. You have to keep the momentum going. If you are a musician and you don’t keep building it into your fingers for several hours every day, you will lose your edge. It’s the same with writing. It isn’t really the output that matters. Sometimes it’s just the act of doing it.
I don’t see creativity as this fragile little flame that needs to be cherished. I see it as an immensely powerful aeroplane. as long as you don’t deliberately keep turning off the runway and going back to the terminal, it will take you wherever you want to go.
I put the magazine back in place, left the heap of books in their corner by the bookshelf and sat down at my desk – in the pilot-seat.