The Man in the Night Time



I’m in McDonald’s, having the free coffee denied me by the pigs yesterday, after that curious incident. I’m in my usual corner, writing (as usual). Phil – the manager – is cool with me and I pay my way (except when the coffee is free): mayo chicken burger tonight.

My boys are here (The Bush Gang) and my friend Courtenay has just left. Given that it’s Saturday, I may hook up with my friends Sonia and Georgia later, then I’m probably meeting my mate Becca on Monday, when she returns from a week away. I’ve missed my little mate.

I’m alright here: just a dog, on a journey.

I’ve also been reading: I’ve started Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster. Typical of my favourite author, it is an engrossing read; a page-turner which pulls the reader in. Engrossing; enveloping: such is Auster’s style and skill. Stories within stories, within stories and yet writeen in such a way as to not be too challenging. They flow. Always thought-provoking but the reader doesn’t to keep re-reading parts of the story to keep up, or be reminded of the plot. The narrative is articulate and intelligent; accessible though. Auster’s writing has clarity. He dissects and analises the minutae; the tiniest details. It’s though the author himslef is speaking in one’s ear. Paul Auster is truly unique.

Travels in the Scriptorium is the seventh Paul Auster novel I’ve read. He’s written around a dozen in total, plus non-fiction, poetry, translations and screenplays. I’ve seen the films he wrote the latter for and they’re as engrossing as his books; making things which would otherwise be mundane or inconsequential, riveting. Works of a genius.

I aspire to be able to write like my literary hero, or as well as, or as prolifically.

Proliferation is not an issue: at the last count, I’ve written around 50’000 words in just under two months. 1000 words per day is a respectable output for a writer, so I’m not far off of being respectable.

I’ve been told by some of my writing peers that I do indeed write in a similar style to Auster sometimes: praise indeed. Certainly my writing sometimes flows like his does and I think of every word and the spaces in between when I’m writing. To achieve that to which I aspire will require practice but with practice comes perfection and with 50’000 words’ flying time and and Volume Three of the hand-written journal on the near horizon, I’m in practice.

Although I’m not far into Travels in the Scriptorium, I’m very familiar with Paul Auster’s style and I can already see parallels between myself and the protagonist. I’m just on page 20 of 130 but Mr Blank could be me; I could be Mr Blank…

“An old man sits in a room, with a single door and window, a bed, a desk and a chair. Each day he awakes with no memory, unsure of whether he is locked into the room…A middle-aged woman called Anna enters and talks of pills and treatment, but also of love and promises…”

At only 130 pages, Travels in the Scriptorium is a relatively slim Paul Auster volume but short books suit my attention span at the moment as I have so much else going on. I polished off The Man in the Picture (Susan Hill) in a couple of days and this should be equally quick work. Then it’s on to Adam Robots, by Adam Roberts: pick-up-put-down short sci-fi stories. Then The Curious Incident should arrive. Of the Dog in the Night Time.

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