Wrestliana – William Litt (A Creative Writing Tutorial)

In this cut section from Wrestliana, I imagine giving my ancestor William Litt a creative writing tutorial, to help him improve his novel Henry & Mary.   Scene: My office.   Ah, William – hello. Come in. Yes, that chair. I always sit in this one, don’t know why. Fine – okay? How are you? How have […]

Wrestliana – Harold Bloom

This kill-your-darling from Wrestliana is about the American literary critic Harold Bloom. In A Map of Misreading and The Anxiety of Influence, Bloom puts forward a theory of how writers come to be the writers they are. It is, he says, because of an agon, an Oedipal struggle, a wrestling match, a war-embrace, with strong forbears […]

Wrestliana – The Coal Delivery Man

Next in the continuing series of kill-your-darling sections painfully taken out of Wrestliana. The following really hurt. This was written to illustrate the split between intellectual and physical labour. (It’s meant to be very awkward.) The symbolic moment for me, and I knew it was this at the time, came during the summer of 1986. I […]

Wrestliana – Samuel Beckett

This kill-your-darling section from Wrestliana is about Samuel Beckett, my love of and ambivalence towards him. Happy birthday, Sam. So, I’m at my desk, who am I fighting right now? Who am I losing to? Sentence by sentence, it’s Woolf, Bellow, Lawrence, Mandelstam. But in figuring myself as a writer? Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), author of […]

Wrestliana – Clare Grogan

In the next few weeks, I’m going to post a few blogs containing sections cut from the drafts of Wrestliana. Writers are told ‘Kill your darlings’. These are a few of mine. They’re all about particular people – Malcolm Bradbury, Ali Smith, my family. The first concerns boarding school. 1st October 1981, Top of the […]