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No one knows what it’s like, to be the bad man…

by on November 25, 2012

So, who got the reference there? (Sorry…….) Last night I was listening to one of my heros, Keith Richards, being interviewed.  If you do not know who Keith is, either you’ve only just taken off your nappies, or you’ve spent the last few decades living in a box.  And being a bad man is certainly his whole image.


Now, I’ve read his autobiography, with the tales of his childhood – certainly not in a wealthy setting.  And his face, with the lines of his life etched deep: neither prepared me for the cultured tones of his voice.  Once again, an image hides and distorts the reality. It is hard to equate the most famous drug addict on the planet, known for carrying a loaded gun around with him, with the fact of a prolific writer who produces not just driving blues-rock, but sensitive ballads: and talks about art,  equating silence before music to the blank page before a writer, or the canvas of an artist.

Most of you guys who will read this write.  It’s strange, but in the last two years, my circle of friends has subtly changed, and most of those I talk with now write, or make music, or create something.  The others seem to have lost interest in me, or maybe I’m just in a place now that they can’t relate to.  Odd isn’t it?  Has the same thing happened to any of you? I was talking to an old friend the other day on the phone, and it was almost alarming how the commonplaces of my life (booksignings, waiting for reviews of the new book to come out, deadlines for copy submission, writers block, scribbling plot ideas at strange times during the day – yes, fess up! you all know about these things!) were to him strange, almost incomprehensible.  Sadly, it may be a long time before we talk again, as our common ground, the cement that glued our friendship together, had shifted.


Does that make ME the bad man, too?

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  1. Hmm… I don’t know. So, on one level, the signings – or at least, attempted signings – blockages, pricing… that’s your job and so it’s just a question of talking a different ‘shop’ to the job that earns the money at present. On the other…

    Do you want to be the bad man? You see I think that part of being a writer is being somebody with an insane number of secrets. I inhabit an entire imaginary world for a large portion of my day and I’ve done so all my life. I’m not sure that has had an effect on my friendships. So… but if writing has always been your dream and you’ve started doing it now… well… that would suggest that it’s something else in you that’s changed. It this is the case, it won’t affect everyone. Hmm… that sounds a bit deep…



  2. And that statement makes no sense without me pointing out that the imaginary world I inhabit was, for 40 years, completely secret.

  3. Actually, it still doesn’t get much sense… sorry, about that.

  4. Makes about as much sense as I do, Mary.

  5. I’m aware that what might pompously be called ‘the axis of my life’ has shifted. But actually, the people I meet in reality as opposed to electronically, are pretty much the same as they always were. Whether it is because everyone who knows me knows that I’ve always ‘written’ (when your articles appear in local press etc word somehow leaks out) so perhaps a book is in their eyes merely a logical extension. The fact it isn’t a ‘real book’ cunningly wrought from bits of dead tree is a minor disappointment to them, but they’d probably not have read it anyway.

  6. Yes…a sad side effect. Most of my mates are very supportive, even though I’m sure they don’t quite understand the strange world we live in, but there have been one or two where suddenly conversation runs dry. Worlds once so close now so distant.

  7. The ‘long term’ friends I still have these days are used to me doing things that they can’t relate to so when I said I’d written a book I didn’t disappoint on the ‘she’s done something strange again’ front! But my group of ‘long term’ friends is very small, my life seems to have changed quite radically many times and because of this so has my circle of friends.

  8. Richard bach, the writer, journalist and pilot, reckoned that almost everyone could count their true friends on the fingers of one hand. Dissappointingly true, it seems

  9. “behind blue eyes” by the Who.

    I’m not sure I have much in common with anyone to begin with. I’m solitary about most things (writing, running, musing, walking the dog, relaxing), but I rarely share my writing efforts/ambitions with any of my day-to-day friends, so that’s not the quality that separates me from them so much.

  10. Very sad. That’s why it’s good to have silly friends. Sillyness needs no context. I find that people don’t understand my life as a self-published writer. But it is a very strange world, and something I’m still getting to grips with.

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  1. Glamour, glamour everywhere… | Hamgee University Press
  2. Glamour, glamour everywhere… | M T McGuire Authorholic

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