An entry from A Writer’s Diary by Toby Litt, published by Galley Beggar Press on 1 January 2023
I’ve been destroyed by pop. (It’s a damp day outside, clouds forming between tree branches.) What I mean is, if I’d never known what ‘catchy’ was – if I’d never taken in the bright, shiny up-ness and the verse-chorus simplicity – if instead I’d been brought up on Greek Tragedy in the original, and High Seriousness, and long walks in the country (I’m satirizing) then I’d – then I’d what? I wouldn’t be a human-from-now. I’d be a young fogey growing up into an old fart without being anything in between. Standards have slipped. The average front page of The Times newspaper is semi-literate, compared to what it was in 1888. My chances of writing anything really great are ooh-bop-shh-bam. The kind of literaturing serious mitteleuropeans do. I’m halfway between the classics and the hooked on, halfway between Cicero and ‘My Boy Lollipop’. Not a bad song. I’ll watch the video on YouTube – and off he goes. Maybe this halfway is the exact place I need to be, to write from – the only honest place. But it doesn’t half feel like I always go for cheap plot structures, and don’t have the nerve to stick with the difficult serious slow stuff. Stuff – exactly. I’m mid-Atlantic, too (too much of the time). Middle aged, middle class, middle income, middle England (well, London’s another thousand countries). Always stubbing my big toe on Englishness. Leigh’s just back from town. How is she? How was her day? My love.