The dull practicality of passion

I read somewhere once that creative passion isn’t the wildfire rousing of an artist overcome with mad inspiration, but rather the decision to follow through with the practical steps required until the creation is complete. The decision and commitment, if you will, to go to the easel and meet the canvas every day, until you have a completed painting.

The original quote was much more impressive and pithy than this recollection, but I’m sure you get the gist of the nub of gristle of the core and so on.

The Fulcrum (of which I swore I wasn’t going to blog about endlessly and so, in the pursuit of not blogging about it, I don’t blog about anything because everything I want to say about anything these days almost always comes back to this) I’ve realised – altogether too late and absurdly so – is just one giant pain-in-the-ass passion project. And nothing – NOTHING – I have done to date to bring it into the world has confirmed this more than typesetting the damn thing for print.

Typesetting. For those who don’t know, it’s the process of basically arranging the words on the page, within a particularly sized area, so that it reads well – there aren’t dangling words anywhere or broken paragraphs, chapters start at the same place every time and so on. If you don’t know how to do this – as I didn’t – learning how to do this and actually doing it is slow, laborious work. It’s slow and laborious anyway, but without the gift of skill, experience and helpful programmes, it is tortuously slow and laborious.

It’s so dull and so slow and so laborious and so finicky that, where once I was envying traditionally published authors their publishers and publicists, I am now lusting after their typesetters. (A case in point: Mark Winkler posted the proofs of his new book The Errors of Dr Browne to Facebook and, honestly, I stared at the title page for a good minute just savouring that professional typesetting like a good sex gif. ‘Hmmm so pretty, so perfect, just look at it!’ I turned my screen to Tom. ‘Look! So beautiful and clever and professional.’ (I say more appropriate things for my sex gifs – arguably a niche taste – but the emotional boner was equal.))

Kindly shared by Mark Winkler. So pretty right?


So now I’m spending YEARS of my life typesetting this fucker for print. Which brings me to The Passion of Tanya For Her Never-Ending Book, the singular pursuit with no other aim but to be Done. Because why else do this? Although I’ve waxed lyrical about readers and how lovely they are and how much I’d like to reach a few, a book like The Fulcrum is not likely to see many anyway, so why bother at all? Can’t I just be happy that it’s done and published as an e-book?

No. Because in my stupid world, dear reader, unless I can hold it in my hand and read it in the bath and turn the pages and inspect the cover, it is not a really-real book, and so my passion project is incomplete and to complete it – to really tick that box on the Done & Dusted list – will require more dull plodding until it is in the state that will mark it as finally, totally, absolutely finished: the state of being a printed book.

Damn my obscene proclivity for physical objects.

Passion is dull work sometimes, friends. Truly dull and tedious work. I wish I had something to explain this compulsion to reach this finish line other than my own neuroses. But there you go.

over and out

Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash