Shadows, substance and a surprise

I'm often asked about the differences and similarities regarding my day job of reporting and my writing.

I used to think the answers were straightforward - they're similar in that both are about storytelling, but different in that one is fact and the other fiction, and in format - two minute reports of maybe 150 words, as opposed to books which contain an average of a hundred thousand words.

But a more subtle realisation has come upon me.

It's this - one is about being blunt, straightforward, overt, making sure there can be as little scope for misunderstanding as possible. 

The other is deliberately ambiguous, elliptical, filled with smoke and shadows. It's about giving the reader a sense of what's going on, but leaving plenty of room for thinking and imagining. 

That's a tricky balance, which I think is one of the greatest discoveries of being a writer.

Another common question I'm asked is - what was the book about?  What did you really mean?  What were you trying to say?

And the inevitable answer comes - what did you think it meant?  Or more importantly - what did it mean to you?

Because that's answer enough. 

As we've been talking work, it's time for one of my pictorial interludes (oh joy, I hear you cry).  As the weather is currently kind, here's me at the day job in the sunshine.  It's taken at Crownhill Police Station in Plymouth.

Simon summer pic.JPG

Finally then, in an elliptical manner, the surprise of the title of this blog is as follows -

You might instinctively think that certainty gives you more satisfaction in life.  But I've come to realise that's not the case. 

It's far more interesting to imagine something, to suspect it, then to be forced to think about it.  To make the jouney to the discovery yourself, rather than have it handed to you.

Which may be why so many of my fellow hacks eventually go on to try their hand at being an author - maybe they're seeking something more satisfying in their work.

Ah, thoughts; my precious and eternal friends.