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A kind of excavation

Have you ever regretted giving away a book?

When Hugh and I are invited to dinner, we like to bring books rather than wine and flowers. Stories, as far as we are concerned, are the best gifts of all. So, last autumn, when we were invited to dinner following a What Milo Saw book reading at The Wantage Literary Festival – Hugh grabbed Ali Smith’s How To Be Both from his annual pile of Booker shortlisted novels. We’ve regretted it ever since – though I suppose it’s a good opportunity for buying another copy of this awesome book.

I particularly felt its absence last week when it was announced that Ali Smith and won The Baileys Prize for Fiction and I heard her giving an inspiring interview on Radio 4’s Front Row. Her humility (‘Are you really sure..?’ she asked when she won’t he prize) was wonderfully moving.

Ali Smith’s words on writing inspired this week’s Wednesday Wisdom:

Writing is a kind of excavation…you find something in the world that you have to deliver properly. Your responsibility is to work as hard as possible to deliver that as well as you can.

Ali Smith

I love that. That we are – as I’ve mentioned before – archaeologists. That we dig away at the world and find the most wonderful stories and then have that great responsibility of delivering the story well. It’s an honour and a privilege and the best job in the world.

Get digging x