Saturday, 2 September 2017

A chat with Past Amy

While wondering what to write for this blog, I started clicking back through previous blogs that I've written here and elsewhere, in search of inspiration procrastination.  In doing so, I found myself staring over Past Amy's shoulder at a finished blog post, and we had this conversation:
If this was really Past Amy, her desk wouldn't be this tidy.

Me: How did you do that?

Past me: Do what?

Me: That piece of writing there on your screen.  How did you manage it?  It’s really good.  It’’s much better than anything I can come up with.

Past me:  Really?  You think so?  I’m not so sure about it.

Me: Are you serious?  Look, that bit there - I got a lump in my throat, reading that.  And that metaphor in the first paragraph?  So funny!  How did you do that?

Past me: (modestly) Well, thank you.  I don’t know, I just...the idea came to me when I was hoovering, and then I thought about it for a bit, and just sort of wrote it.  Then I edited it about fifteen times until it worked.

Me: I’m so envious.  I wish I could write like that.

Past me: Isn’t it a bit silly to be envious of something that you actually achieved yourself?

Me: Maybe, but you know, once I’ve written something, it doesn’t seem like mine at all.  It takes its place with all the other pieces of writing in the world and on the internet that seem unattainably good, especially whenever I’m sitting down in front of a blank page trying to think of what to write.

Past me: Maybe you should stop comparing polished, published pieces of writing with your blank pages.  That seems like a competition you can’t win.

Me: What do you mean?

Past me: Look. Step back in time with me.  (She clicks through to a blank page on her computer) Compare your blank page with mine.  This is what every writer’s page looks like at this stage.  This is what Shakespeare’s page looked like just before he wrote King Lear.  This is what C.S. Lewis’s page looked like just before he started Narnia.  And this is what my page - your page - looked like before I - you -  wrote that thing you liked.  You’ve filled pages like this before, and you’ll do it again.

Me: Thank you.  That’s a very encouraging speech.  I wish I’d thought of that.

Past me: You did.

Amy Robinson is the publicity officer for the ACW. She is a writer, performance storyteller and ventriloquist, and the children’s worker in her benefice.  She has written three books about puppetry and storytelling, published by Kevin Mayhew, and provides scripts and materials for GenR8, a Cambridgeshire charity running Christian assemblies and events in schools.  She co-founded the storytelling company Snail Tales, with which she still writes and performs.  In her spare time, she writes poetry and makes attempts at novels.  She lives in a rectory in Suffolk with the rector, two children, two guinea pigs and too many puppets to count.


  1. I love this! So clever and inspired! 😃😃

  2. Very clever. I'm sure it doesn't apply to you, Amy, but I noticed several things in my life – long distance swimming, differential calculus, memorising Bible verses, etc. – that I used to be able to do much better in years past than I can now. Perhaps I'm getting older.

  3. That made me laugh, Amy. I had some inspiration in the bath this morning. You have yours hoovering. Staring at a blank page is such a waste of time, isn't it? Sue

  4. Jane Brocklehurst2 September 2017 at 15:13

    We have this treasure in earthen vessels . . .

  5. Love this blog Amy. So true, like your stories which seem so simple yet mean a great deal.

  6. True, funny, and very sad that you used the p-word - how long till writers understand that hanging about around getting started is the warm-up? Just as we don't try to do sport or even something like Pilates by plunging straight into the most energetic work without warm-up exercise, so we can be warming up towards doing our best writing ... A thought ...