Yeah, well, it’s not the craziest of things to do.

Yes, that is a Batman belt holding my book open on the slope.

Yes, that is a Batman belt holding my book open on the slope.


I know it looks a bit nuts, but I like to copy out books. And I’m not the only one, Stephen Fry once said he has typed out a P.G Wodehouse novel.

I prefer to write things out by hand, though. It’s calming. A kind of mediation. I started when I was a child, when I wanted to write but wasn’t always sure what to write. I would copy out poems and Shakespeare sonnets. When I was at secondary school I wrote out whatever play we were studying, and any piece of prose or song lyric I came across that resonated with me. To write out any old novel with a lot of functional scenes or banal but necessary conversations would bore me, though. It needs to be a classic or more of an epic poem, or a play full of beautiful combinations of words. I am currently reading and listening to Ulysses by James Joyce, and have found quite early on the need to take so many notes and impress so many lines into my memory, I’ve decided to copy it out so I can read on ahead without having to keep stopping.

The longest single piece I have done was Wuthering Heights (107,945 words), and Ulysses is a bit of a doorstop (265,222), so this may take some time.

In days of yore, I’d have made an awesome scribe. Except they were generally dudes. And often monk dudes at that.

monk scribe