The Columnist
  Hilary Bradt
Mme Golaszewski
  Roger Laughton
  Gillian Hush
  Stuart Harley
  Isabel Maynard
  Gill Coleridge 2
  Alan Hart
  Harold Evans
  Andre Previn
  Michael Langan
  Alasdair Riley
  Marilyn Lloyd
  Paul Brett
  Gerald Long
  Joanna Lumley(2)
  Terry Jones
  Gill Coleridge
  Jonathen Miller
  Ronald Biggs






May 21, 1988

Dear Mme Golaszewski,

I hope you don’t be offended if I say that reading an analysis of the way I write is very confusing for me – I hardly recognise myself, because I see my writing in a totally different way from you. You analyse it from the outside; I build it from the inside. I don’t use structural analysis much at all – any piece which I plan well in advance usually turns out worse than pieces which evolve as I write. Very often I start with a vague idea, an opening line and one joke, not knowing where I am going and that is the sort I enjoy the best. It is often the one that turns out the best too. But when I work it out in advance, it goes cold on the page; well-built but uninteresting, like a dish which has been reheated too often.

It might be true to say that my main aim is to surprise the reader. But actually I think it is to surprise myself. My favourite music is jazz, and in a sense every piece is like a jazz solo on a barely stated theme.

In other words, I am the last person you should ask for advice on my writing. Especially when I cannot remember having written a piece – I could only just recall the two you sent me.

yours sincerely

END - back to top