Thursday, 24 September 2009

Necessary Distraction Karen Ball

Photo courtesy of Tim Lumley

This week I received a Danish copy of one of my books. My writing looks so pretty in words I can't read. I also received advance copies of another book - it still surprises me when my hard work turns up in something bound, glued, with a bar code on the back. 'Oh, look. It's a book!' And my sister came round to take a new author photo of me to go on my agent's website.
The author photo – source of much debate in author households around the country, I’m sure. We decided against a bookish backdrop and stepped out into the garden to catch the last of the day’s light. Mandy found a stool to stand on so that I could raise my head to look into the camera, thereby hiding a double chin. Apparently, if you want killer cheekbones in a photo you don’t say ‘Cheese!’ you say ‘Wogan!’ (If you want to look as though you've been sucking lemons, you say 'John Humphries!') I’d recently shared Lucy Coat’s grief that the great Irish man is to leave our morning air waves, so I didn’t mind at all repeating his name over and over. God knows what the neighbours were thinking. I’m not sure we got a great shot out of any of those moments when I said his name, but it gave us both reason to laugh and made the process fun.
‘Do you want me to get rid of your wrinkles?’ Mandy asked as we inspected the photos on her laptop. You would be proud of me, fellow writers. I said no! My boyfriend came home and we showed him our shortlist of photos to work from. He frowned. ‘Your mouth is strange in that one and I think your hair looks a bit severe.’ We told him his opinion was no longer required. I then took my sister out for a curry – she didn’t mind being paid in nan bread for her efforts.
Packages, curry, wrinkles and Wogan. These couldn’t have come at a better time. For the past few weeks I have been working extremely hard on a second draft. I had started to feel a little lonely at my desk. Hard work is hard work for anyone, but my goodness it is solitary for a writer. I would take a break and go to the local cafe just to speak to someone. There wasn’t a blogger in the world who could blog regularly enough to give me an excuse to take a break from the writing. I had run out of items to load into the washing machine and the bin was overflowing with chocolate wrappers. Forgive me, Father, for I have eaten two packets of hula hoops, barely noticing them go down. Can you sense that I was becoming a bit strung out? So what a blessed relief to open surprise packages, laugh with my sister and tell my boyfriend that he was wrong. These little events mean that I can go back to writing a happy woman.
Thank goodness for distraction. All together, now. Saaaaay 'Wogan!'
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Anonymous said...

Daughter took some pictures of me the other day. She liked the horrible one where I smiled, and I preferred the sober and serious face. You can't win, can you?

Anne Cassidy said...

At least let us see the piccy.

karen ball said...

I'd love to, Anne, but I couldn't work out how to upload more than one picture without them both sitting awkardly next to each other at the top of the blog post. I was rushing out of the door to work. Will have to try to work it out.