I often get asked, ‘What made you want to be a writer?’ and in all honesty, I have no idea. I wonder if other people do - whether there’s a distinct moment of inspiration or revelation - because for me, writing just feels innate.
But it was great to talk with Sam Baker of The Shift about Jenny Diski’s Skating to Antarctica, because reading the essay that the book was based on was definitely formative for me. Although - as you’ll see below - I can’t quite think where I would have encountered it, I know that it changed the way I saw myself, and the possibilities I saw in the act of writing. I still thought I was a mad, doomed girl, but I also saw that a person like me could make something beautiful. And I felt for the first time that hit that only comes from a real-life story, that relief of contact.
You can watch some of my conversation with Sam below - to add subtitles, click the ‘CC’ button.
Scroll down for the full video, an audio version for those who prefer to just listen, and a full transcript. The original essay version of Skating to Antarctica is reproduced in Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told.