I always thought I was the ’1 in 10.’ While this may be true for certain aspects of my DNA, it appears that, this year, I am also the ’1 in 3′ - 1 in 3 students who gained a First-class Honours Degree in Literature, after 6 years of study with The Open University (an institution which has my most sincere respect). The Masters Degree is next. If my creative literary endeavours don’t match these standards I may just end up as an old Alcoholic-Academic. Anything is possible. . .
Robert De Niro was recently in a movie with me. It’s called The Killer Elite, loosely based on the book by Sir Ranulph Fiennes and his time with the SAS. A Big Budget Car Crashing movie – it has, unfortunately, not impressed the critics, despite the fact that both Mr De Niro and myself are method trained actors. I presume, therefore that this critical chagrin is a result of the fact that all those wonderful close-ups of your humble narrator ended up on the cutting room floor. Of course I look good, which is all that matters. The remaining short line (I say ‘Go on you cheeky bugger!’) and appearance of my face can be viewed at 22minutes and 15 seconds into the film. It’s out on video to buy now, which of course is your decision. However it is not incumbent upon you, dear reader, to poise your finger over the ffwd button or purchase anything, as I have generously extracted the best scene right here for your enjoyment. Meantime, I’ll get back to my real work; as a vague somnambulist, stumbling from paragraph to paragraph.
As you all know, this is a serious literary website (to those of you who get it) and I would never do what I am about to do without grave reason. This goes beyond nudity, because I’m never sure I want you to know me. Those of you who have viewed the Insomnia: Doctors and Drug Dealers work-in-progress reading will perhaps comprehend what it means to me to have made it to forty years of age sans suicide.
Me still here. And so; I share these photographs of my 40th birthday party with you for the reasons above.
Question: Why are any of us still here? Send your answers in.
The cake was a beautiful surprise; a replica of a vintage Smith Corona typewriter I have recently bought out of pure indulgent nostalgia for the days when writers went click click clack clackety clack. It had rice paper scattered around it with sections from Blackout written upon said rice paper. Thus rendering me able to eat my own words.
I ate most of the cake myself, during the ensuing nights of sleeplessness and desire. More chocolate has been poured into my veins in the past three weeks than codeine.
The result of this chocolate binge? My hair turned brunette.
My question to you, readers: how can I be The Naked Blonde Writer, if I am now a brunette? Suggestions accepted, but never expected.
Author Tracy Williams, also known as The Naked Blonde Writer, has received a bursary from Literature Wales (formerly known as Academi) to write her second novel under the working title of Insomnia: Doctors & Drug Dealers. The bursary is for a six month period, during which time Tracy hopes to produce a first draft of 120,000 words. She has been researching the novel for the past three years. The story is vaguely autobiographical, loosely based on the author’s personal experience of lifelong chronic insomnia. The confessional content of the narrative will, however, incorporate vast amounts of fiction and be rendered in satirical and allegorical form. Tracy’s creative vision for the book is to achieve an aesthetic similar to that of William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.
Earlier this year I was approached by David Spencer, a freelance broadcast journalist and radio presenter, about The Naked Blonde Writer. David thought a marketing strategy based on nudity and a naked reading would make a great story and could be of interest to wider audience.
The resulting 48 minute telephone interview took place in September as our schedules prevented meeting face-to-face and where, of course, the recording quality would have been much better.
If you’d prefer to listen to parts, I’ve separated the interview into a few themed questions and my response.
The Naked Blonde Writer (9 mins)
The British reaction to nudity and our attitudes to sex (18 mins)
Women at 40 (7 mins)
Stripped of technology (6 mins)
Latest project, personal themes and the power of the voice (8 mins)
Blackout started as a short film, scripted in Hollywood, based entirely around a power cut which brings two technology-possessed people together for one night – until the power comes back on. The story grew into an exploration of England vs Wales, apathy vs ambition and technology vs Mother Nature. It is an observation of the dark side of the Valleys, a harsh look at the insidious underbelly of a seemingly sing-song, small community in the ex-coal-mining valleys of South Wales.
The Long Haul
Blackout was written as a first draft novel during a year of intense isolation, while I lived in a castle in Wales. I gave it to friends and other writers to read. One night I read it out to a friend who soon after designed a (this) website to promote my work as writer, actor and nude model – thus ‘The Naked Blonde Writer’ was born. I filmed a naked reading of Chapter One and self-published the final draft this year.
Writing for me involves wandering mountains, staring through windows and frantic rushes to stop the car and grab a pen. I suppose I am therefore always writing. The act of sitting down to write I find difficult – I meditate beforehand to ward off the self-critic. Once I’m installed in a chair, I tend to lose track of time and usually emerge enraptured. My advice: accept that the act of writing takes many different forms. The work can flourish if one keeps the pen close at hand.
How I did it by Tracy Williams, Mslexia Issue 47, p54