The answers to 4 questions

Today I reached 4444 followers on Twitter. I wish I could claim to have barely noticed noticed, but I do have a sneaky peak at my follower count at least a few times a week. I *almost* reached this milestone around a month ago, hitting 4443, close, but no cigar.

To celebrate I promised to answer 4 questions on any subject entirely honestly. Here are the 4 I chose from those put to me, with 100% honest answers.

What is your quest? Via @FredKiesche

For some years now I’ve been attempting to write a book. I’m fairly sure my motives for wanting to write a book are flawed IE I’d like it to make me wealthy and widely loved. However, around 18 months ago I realised that, as weak and materialist as my motives might be, this wasn’t something I was going to get over or grow out of so the only solution was to actually do it and then live with the consequences. I am now writing something that might at some point qualify as a book. Progress is slow because fiction writing is by far the hardest thing I know how to do, and there is literally no scale of self-constructed drama I won’t inflict on my myself to provide an alternative to actually sitting down and writing the book. (See below) On the upside my physical fitness is skyrocketing because running has become one of my favourite ways of not writing the book. You’ll notice I’m blogging prolifically at the moment, another trusty way of not writing the book. Should I announce that I’m running for political office or founding a religion, those will also be ways of not writing the book.

When can we read your interview with Neal Stephenson? Via @molosovsky

Over the course of some weeks over the summer I conducted a detailed interview with legendary SF author Neal Stephenson via email. Because this was for the UK launch of Stephenson’s non-fiction collection Some Remarks, I pitched the idea to a high profile technology publication, who were very keen. There’s a certain chemistry at work in any interview. Earlier this year I did a phone interview with Harlan Ellison. It went spectacularly well and the resulting published interview was really strong. The chemistry in the interview with Neal Stephenson was difficult throughout. I wanted to bring out his thoughts on current stories in technology and shaped my questions towards that goal. He was very reluctant to play futurist. There is some fascinating material in the interview, but the completed write-up was very different to the idea I initially discussed with the editor at the technology publication. The interview has now been re-edited twice for various reasons, and is still sitting with the editor. So. It may or may not appear at the original publication, although that seems unlikely now given the time elapsed. Or I might find an alternative venue for it.

What are you most afraid of? Via @AplhaChar

I think all humans are most afraid of dying, and whilst studying buddhism has changed my perceptions of death quite profoundly, I certainly can’t claim to have overcome it as a fear. However, I am at least equally afraid of not living. Somewhere in the tension between the two, life happens.

Will you read my work? Via @TattyAnn

As @TattyAnn is a student on the creative writing certificate I will certainly be reading her work for assessment. Beyond my teaching commitments, I’m only reading for my column and occasional paid review work, and a lot less of that than I was. So, unless I want to read your work for my own pleasure, the answer is currently no.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

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