Friday, 13 February 2015

Bill Nighy and Ruling Margins

Some years ago the wonderful British actor Bill Nighy, (left) in an interview with Michael Parkinson, said that, at the age of 17, he and his friend decided to run away to Paris (at 17? those were the days!) to become writers. When they got there they were unsure as to how to proceed so they bought exercise books and ruled margins on every page. This struck a chord with me and the story has spread far and wide amongst my writerly friends. There’s something about getting ready for the new year, the new course, a new subject to be studied, that just demands the metaphorical equivalent of ruling margins.
Right now I’m at the start of a new semester at RMIT where I’m studying for the Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing. I started mid-year last year and this year I’m loving it even more. Last week (first week) in class I fished out my new folders, new pens, new books to write in and slapped them on the table with great satisfaction – as did the girl next to me and the man opposite. I told them the Bill Nighy story and their eyes lit up in instant recognition.  My lovely Mac Air laptop can just about get up and dance but there’s just something more special about buying new stuff and ruling those margins, don’t you think?


  1. I can relate to the margin-ruling ritual, as I can of course to your posts on mothers and friendships. Not so to the knitting and the dogs, a) because I never could get my head around those mysterious knitting instructions and b) because I am a tragic cat lover. But I think your dog banner deserves an award - what a shot!
    See you in the cafe! Julia

    1. Thanks! It was on that holiday in Pottsville Beach, northern NSW, where we adopted Barney, then aged 8. He'd hardly ever been out of his own concrete driveway so this beautiful dog-friendly beach must have felt like heaven!


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