Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Michael Palin: 'Squeezing 10 years into a book is like being a sculptor'

Whittling away 80% of a decade’s events is cruel but holidays, meals and train journeys all had to be jettisoned in the creation of the Python veteran’s latest memoir, Travelling to Work 

What to leave out? … Michael Palin. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

My experience with the publication of my two previous volumes of diaries – The Python Years and Halfway to Hollywood, had prepared me for the task of squeezing 10 manically busy years into a single volume. The process is, I imagine, a bit like the challenge a sculptor faces. To chip away at an amorphous block until a shape is gradually revealed. I saw great chunks of the decade fall to the floor as some 80% of the block was whittled away. Ion Trewin, the much-missed doyen of diary editing, was once again my wise adviser on choice of material. Family holidays were jettisoned in their entirety; there’s something about hot days, beaches and mosquito bites which just doesn’t travel.

No comments: