Saturday, 23 May 2009

Tim Clare - We Can't All Be Astronauts (Ebury 2009)

Stand up poet Tim Clare's memoir of trying to write and publish the perfect book, mired by peer-jealousy and depression, is the best possible tool for any budding writer or someone wanting an insight into the creative process. This brutally honest, hilarious and engaging memoir flits between Tim's struggle to edit and mould his tome into something resembling genius while living at home with his concerned but understanding parents, insight into his personality and its traits- how having always found creativity easy he flits between trying and assuming it'll all happen, and descriptions of his jealousy while other friends are published, get paid to be creative, and enjoy themselves. Meanwhile he internally tears himself apart trying to get his book finished. I can relate. Writing my book, watching my friends succeed, waiting for my moment, persevering, fighting for it, dying with jealousy and depression- it's all there, it's all part of the writer's journey. Clare is funny and eloquent with his descriptions, using personal experience and brutally funny and honest anecdote to drive his tale of how he tried to make a career of writing tales. From a weird suicide pact with his dad to begging Jeffrey Archer on TV for money to a strangely conceited and fake Channel 4 show on his trying to find a deal, he muddles through, being his own best promotion and his own worst friend. It's a definite must for any creative person trying to get a deal- be it publishing or music or film or anything, it shows the process, the paranoia, the tender self-esteem, and the humour in becoming self-obsessed, precious and arrogant all in the same stride, and Clare shows himself to be a brilliant writer, laugh out loud and articulate, and I can't wait for him to release his amazing novel about a part-dog adventurer.

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