I have been asked on more than on occasion, and more than once by the same person, ‘Don’t you get bored sitting on your own all day?’
Well, y’know, because the job ‘Being Han Solo’ was not available, and nor was ‘Space Pirate’, I opted for the next best thing. I’m an author. To some people, that might sound as if I just sit on my own all day waiting for inspiration, but I wait for nothing! What I actually do is sit on my own all day and MAKE UP STORIES.
Yep, I get to spend all day adventuring in the jungle, fighting off bad guys in the wastes of Antarctica, hunting in the forests of Finland, or nudging downriver in the wilds of Brazil. It’s tougher than it sounds. The words don’t always come as fluently as I’d like them to, and sometimes they don’t want to come at all, but I slog at them anyway. I do what Jack London suggested, and I go after inspiration with a club. I usually manage to catch it and beat it into submission. (And no, I don’t watch daytime TV. That’s not how novels get written.)
When evening comes, I pack away my typewriter, slip into my tuxedo and then it’s off to those wonderful literary parties. Oh, yes, I’m at a party every night, martini glass in hand, regaling my influential friends with some clever and hilarious anecdotes. Oh how we laugh. And usually there’s some sort of fiendish crime that needs to be solved, which is lucky because there’s always a clever crime writer on hand to . . .
Yeah, that’s not quite it. In fact, I’m not sure where that misconception comes from. Why do people think that writers’ lives are glamorous affairs filled with parties and erudite conversation? And why do authors in stories always seem to have such fabulous adventures?
Could it be because writers have created those fantasies? About themselves?
Okay, so the reality is that I spend a lot of time on my own writing stories that I like – and hope other people will like too (especially my publisher!) – and then I pick my children up from school and the erudite conversation goes something like this . . .
Me: So what did you do at school today?
My Son: Stuff.
Me: Oh. Okay. What kind of stuff?
Son: Y’know. Stuff stuff.
Me: Okay. Umm. Tell me three things you did at school today.
Son: Lessons, lunch, and . . . I dunno, breathe?
When I reach my daughter’s school, she gets in the car.
Me: Hello, darling, how was school?
Daughter: All right.
Me: What did you do? Anything good?
Me: Anything else?
Daughter: Not really.
Me: Too tired to chat?
And people wonder why I spend all day making things up.