While working from home this week while we had our living room ceiling replaced (leaky washing machine, insurance claims, long story) I was reminded of how much the full time fiction writer lifestyle doesn’t suit me. Four days in the flat (indeed, in one room) connected to the office by the slender veins of VPN and Skype, are a fine way to get a lot of work done, but also an excellent way to go out of your head with cabin fever. Me, I’m one of those that needs other people around me day to day. Even if I rarely speak to them, nevertheless I’m out of sorts unless it’s so.
Which made it nice to grab a chat with the plasterer who told me for him it’s much the same: the thing that makes his job worthwhile is the people, the variety of lifestyles and stories. Over a quick coffee we talked about architectural minimalism and karate, how millionaires spend their money, Ray Davies, Banksy and painting model soldiers.
Saved my sanity, that chat (and he did a great job of the ceiling too).
And what’s more, by sheer coincidence, one of the short stories I’ve got on the go is about a retirement-aged tradesman for whom the only real attraction of his job was the people he met. I’d been having trouble nailing his voice and character, so … yet another writerly gift. It’s been good weather for that recently.