At what point does a writer become a journalist?
Quite often journalists become writers because of their vast experience in observing and writing about the news, sometimes in the category of ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.
I did journalism at University and thought I would never get to use it. I had to interview people, write articles, and act as an editor. The hardest part was the headlines.
How much does that resemble the job of coming up with a title for your book?
Well, several opportunities arose over the last few months to dig out the journalist hat, put it on, and go to work.
Hospital. I’ve had to go there a few times more in the last few months than I have in recent years.
And I’d forgotten just how hospitals are interesting places, especially the waiting room in Emergency.
After the second or third visit, I started to observe the people who were waiting and ran through various scenarios as to the reason for their visit. None may have been true, but it certainly was an exercise in creative writing and would make an excellent article.
Similarly, once we got inside the inner sanctum, where the real work is done, there is any number of crises and operations going on, and plenty of material for when I might need to include a hospital scene in one of my stories.
Or I could write a volume in praise of the people who work there and what they have to endure. Tending the sick, injured and badly injured is not a job for the faint-hearted.
Research, if it could be called that, turns up in the unlikeliest of places. Doctors who answer questions, not necessarily about the malady, nurses who tell you about what it’s like in Emergency on nights you really don’t want to be there, and other patients and their families, all of whom have a story to tell, or just wait patiently for a diagnoses and then treatment so they can go home.
We get to go this time at about four in the morning. Everyone is tired. More people are waiting. Outside it is cool and the first rays of light are coming over the horizon as dawn is about to break.
I ponder the question without an answer, a question one of the nurses asked a youngish doctor, tossed out in conversation but was there a more intent to it; what he was doing on Saturday night.
He didn’t answer. Another crisis, another patient.
I suspect he was on duty in Emergency.