My greatest pleasures

Having just written that title, I've immediately got the feeling some of you - the suspicious, cynical ones - or maybe just the ones who know me? - will be expecting an e-outpouring on the subject of beer, curry etc.


No, this is a response to a very fine question I was asked last week at the Chudleigh Book Fair (hello to anyone who went along, and thanks for such a fine evening - never before have I given a talk from what felt like a pulpit, another new experience).  It went thus - which of my activities do I enjoy the most? (that's professional activities, before you start over-imagining again).

I count myself very lucky in that I enjoy all I do, aside from the occasional off-day, which appears a contractual part of this thing called life.  But as for a favourite?  Well, having now thought about it, I'd say it changes depending on which of the particular fields is proving the most stimulating at that point.

On the TV and news side, I get a great buzz from covering a big story and trying my best to do it well. It's the sense of being at the centre of events, and so many people looking to you to tell them what's happening.

Writing-wise, it can be the simple of moments, like the idea for a new novel, character or piece of work, and happily filling in pages on a notebook, polishing it, extending it, testing it, seeing if it's got what it takes to make it to publication.

And as for acutally being amidst writing a book, that's a joy.  It's almost as if I leave this world for a while, to go and reside in the fantasy land I'm creating.

The education work I love too, thinking up new ways to try to teach people about writing.  I never like to do it all straightforwardly!  One thing I took from those long ago schooldays was that the best teachers were also entertainers.

But, finally coming to an answer, after all the usual rambling and digressions... at the moment it's the careers work which is lighting my heart the most. 

I feel very privileged to be able to teach and mentor some young folk, and help them towards a life in the media.  I heard yesterday that one of my students has just got her first job as a researcher with a TV company.  I could hear the shining smile in her message, and it's stayed with me this morning.