Category Archives: Writing

There’s a Hole in My Tooth

I’m waiting in the dentist’s office for root canal treatment and instead of thinking calming thoughts, my mind’s decided to fixate on the dental incident in A Million Little Things. Great right?

You know – the bit where the main character (whose name I’ve completely forgotten) outlines in enormous detail the horror, pain and basically, torture, of undergoing root canal treatment without anaesthetic. I remember reading this years ago and thinking root canal was the worst thing that could ever happen.

So you can imagine my delight when I turned up after a 12 year (yes that’s right – 12 year) hiatus for what I thought would be a routine filling, only for the pleasantly calm dentist to reel off a list of things they would do to my teeth now that I’d come in from the cold. I did what any sensible person would do and ran to the nearest NHS dentist for a second (and cheaper) opinion, but unfortunately, root canal seems to be the consensus. Followed by…other stuff.

I came up with the name for the Escape Artist Book Journal, based on how far fiction can take us from real life. Unfortunately, fiction also has a knack of creating mental images and vicarious agonies that arise just when you don’t really need them to.

Have you come across a book that makes going to the dentist seem like a non-traumatic experience? Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories features a sub-plot in which PI Jackson Brodie has a bad tooth and develops sepsis (a fear that plagued me until I managed to just ignore it about two years ago).

I also recall my cousin telling me that Joshua Ferris’ To Rise Again at a Decent Hour made her book a belated dental appointment, but as she told me she had a haunted look in her eye and I refused the urge to ask to borrow it in case it had the same effect on me.

How is that dentistry has become a horror niche? And if anyone has any tips (because I’m pretty sure I can’t Dutch courage my way through this one…) please do let me know for next time!

‘On Writing’ – Stephen King

Les Deux-Alpes, July 2015


Stephen King takes the reader through his life from childhood to adulthood and spends the second section of the novel detailing the craft of writing.


The most helpful and straightforward book I’ve ever read about writing.


‘Good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere…two previously unrelated ideas come together to make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find [them] but to recognise then when they show up.’

‘When you write the story you’re telling yourself [it]…write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out…for you…’