I’ve always been suspicious of things that come too easily. It’s probably the way I was brought up. My grandparents from both sides were Scottish and had that dour Methodist philosophy of hard work and a slightly guilty conscience if you ever got too comfortable. I remember watching Scottish stand up comedian Billy Connolly once make a joke about the Scots eating breakfast standing up, just so that they don’t get too comfortable, and literally crying with laughter, because I remember breakfast at my grandparents house so well.
On the radio a couple of days ago, I was listening to an interviewer talking to the lead actor James Nesbitt from the new British TV drama Missing on the complexities of the show, and how it goes to hard places and doesn’t flinch away. He asked Nesbitt if playing the main character, the flawed, deeply troubled father of a son who has gone missing, was difficult, and Nesbitt said yes, of course it was difficult, but the difficulty was also the privilege and I had one of those “YES” moments, where the way I thought accorded perfectly with someone elses.
Because I have to be honest, I find writing very hard work. I find telling stories the way I want to tell them, and adding the meaning I want to them, and exploring the characters the way I think they should be explored, to be the hardest job I’ve ever had. Dorothy Parker’s quote
‘I hate writing. I love having written.’
Has always struck somewhat of a cord with me. I don’t hate writing, but sometimes I do, just a little bit. I don’t whine about it, ever, though, because just as James Nesbitt says, I think the difficult is part of the privilege. It is hard because it’s worth doing, and not much that is really worth doing comes easy.
There are plenty of other things that are worth doing that aren’t easy. Raising children. Holding firm to your principles. A thousand other things.
What hard things do you think are worth doing?