Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 1: N M Browne


Having just read Catherine’s excellent post and this latest rather depressing issue of ‘The Author’ I feel the need to find, Worzel Gummidge like, my Pollyanna head and list some reasons to be cheerful.
1. As an author you can lie in bed with your eyes shut claiming (sometimes legitimately) that you are not dozing but plotting...
2. Cafe Coffee and croissants post JK Rowling are a morally justifiable, if not a legally acceptable, expense.
3. You can still work in your dressing gown/birthday suit/wellies without anyone lecturing you on ‘inappropriate workplace attire’ or indeed horrific taste/cellulite
4. You can still feign shock at parties when nobody has heard of you: ‘Oh but I always thought you were very well read...’ or ‘well I suppose my books are rather demanding... ‘
You can also cause acute panic in certain types of parent with a raised eyebrow and a bemused: ‘ Oh I’m surprised that (insert child’s name here) isn’t reading my stuff yet... How old did you say she was?
5. Nobody expects you to be on time or entirely sober as you are obviously an ‘artist’ of one kind or another. Similarly eccentric dress, erratic housekeeping and disgusting personal habits can be indulged with equanimity and people may be persuaded it’s all down to ‘creativity’.
6. You can avoid almost anything by claiming to be working and as no one knows what the hell you do all day, no one will contradict you (See 1 above)
7. If your year has been anything like mine you can expect a tax rebate. (See 1 above)
8. If you have an accountant and you’ve had a year like mine he/she may be fighting the impulse to send you charitable donations and/or food parcels...
9. You can take out your irritation by casting all your enemies as villains and put all the clever things you never manage to say into the mouths of your heroes.
10. You can go somewhere else, be someone else, do something amazing just by sitting down and writing. And it’s all free! This is a very good thing. (See 7 and 8 above)

13 comments:

Bill Swears said...

You can tell fledgling writers and students that the new way to signal colloquial conversation is to shift rapidly between singular and plural, both inside speech tags and in straight up narrative. They'll believe you, and you'll have less competition. At least, until the new colloquialism becomes shifting rapidly between the singular and plural, and you're left standing in the rain. Mixing metaphors is really good, too.

Stroppy Author said...

Fantastic, and all true. You can also eat chocolate constantly, claiming that it helps the imagination. This is just a toned-down version of Hemingway's drinking and Coleridge's drug habit, but at the safe end of the scale. Those other two are options, of course...

catdownunder said...

Oh - I really do not have the hang of this. There is something called "actual work", then "housework" and "caring for the Senior Cat" and...well you get the picture I am sure...and chocolate is bad for cats...oh botheration...maybe I can curl up for a cat nap and claim to be working?

John Dougherty said...

Nicky, you are a genius.

Point 4 is particularly useful - I'm always much too self-effacing in that situation. And I shall pin a neat copy of point 5 up in my kitchen, with the 'erratic housekeeping'phrase emboldened, and direct my wife's attention to it on a regular basis.

(Erm... maybe that last bit's not such a good idea, on second thoughts).

Book Maven said...

Wonderful, Nicky! I needed a boost this morning and you have given me one. I shall remember the answers in 4.

Mary

Penny Dolan said...

Made me laugh! I think that Catherine's post & your post make an excellent pair about How It Is.

Now nearest, dearest and even furthest might understand why writers have occasional mood swings?

Liz Kessler said...

Love it. I really like point 4. Not sure I'd have the nerve to try these answers myself but I would like to!

Gray Woodland said...

*splork!*

My only doubt:

You can still work in your dressing gown/birthday suit/wellies without anyone lecturing you on ‘inappropriate workplace attire’ or indeed horrific taste/cellulite

If I worked in my dressing gown, birthday suit, and wellies, the silverfish in my kitchen - ahem, the radical creative collective I invite round for the occasional literary lunch - would rise up to lecture me on inappropriate workplace attire, or possibly just on the urgent need for the world to have ended two minutes previously.

Rosalie Warren said...

I love those things to say to parents!

Fully cheered up after reading your post.

Catherine Johnson said...

Fantastic Nicky! This is the life. i look forward to the hamper from my accountant at any minute....

Malaika said...

This is fabulous, Nicky. There are always two sides to every story. Now excuse me while I go off and eat chocolate in my dressing gown.

Savita Kalhan said...

Great post - made me smile! I'd love to use 4 too, but I'm not sure I have the gall!
If I didn't do the school run, it would be tempting to remain in dressing gown all day...
Must remember to use 6 much more, 9 a little less, but 10 is a staple.

Susan Price said...

Why are you all laughing? I have taken notes. Especially, as John says, point 4.
Brilliant, Nicky.