I keep a bottle of brandy in my desk. Not to drink – I can’t write drunk, and, as it happens, it’s the Christmas pudding brandy – but because it makes me feel a bit like Raymond Chandler.
It doesn’t make me write like Raymond Chandler, but it does make me write. Playing at being a writer does result in actual, real-world, words. It’s something about ceremony and ritual, together with not taking any of it too seriously. It’s like putting on a designated writing hat, or socks with a pattern of pen-nibs; something that says to me, and to the world, ‘OK, I’m a writer now.’
It could be argued that this dressing up lark is a bit childish. To which I reply, firstly, that I don’t care; and secondly, that one of the few points with which I still agree wholeheartedly with C. S. Lewis is on childlike things.
Anyway, the brandy has to go somewhere.