Before I took up writing "seriously" I use to draw and paint. I exhibited and sold and did things to order. But even in those heady days there were times I`d sit with a brush full of paint or a nib full of ink, thinking "I don`t know what to paint/draw"... So I took to painting still lifes, old Dutch style - you know, the ones were you see a window reflected in the drop of water on a cabbage leaf. (Not that I ever got that good). But even then I was haunted by the feeling that "it`s all been done before."
History repeats itself, this time with writing. Cabbage leaves are of no use to me now, and it isn`t as though I don`t have any imagination, but hasn`t it all been written before? I suspect that publishers and agents may be feeling the same: scan the competition requirements and the calls for submissions to publishing houses and you`ll see they want writing that "crosses genres and pushes boundaries." It should be "subversive, outrageous, post-modern and cross-cultural." What?? I thought one was supposed to "write about what one knew."
If it`s all been written before, including (and especially) what I know, and I don`t have the capability to write this cross-genre stuff - with or without vampires and boy wizards - what alternative is there? Writing backwards with green ink on tinfoil?
My only consolation is that I remember reading that an artist with this problem was once told "Ah, but you haven`t painted it before." Maybe that applies to writing too. The world may be waiting for my take on a supermarket trolley with a mind of its own. At least that`s something I can push.