This morning while I was walking Rodney, I bumped into another dog-owner; I’ll call her Sophie. She’s a lovely lady – very friendly, and we chatted for a while about our dogs, the weather, and that Sophie was late for work. I said; “Me too, I really need to knuckle down today.” Then Sophie asked me what I do.
This question always causes me a degree of consternation and embarrassment, because what I do, and what I am does not necessarily marry up. For instance, I am editing my first novel, and writing my second. But am I a novelist? No – absolutely not. At least not until I have published one of them. So I usually mutter something about being a copywriter – and that much is true; for several years, businesses have paid me to come up with words on their behalf.
But today, I found myself curiously and unusually forthcoming – and confessed to Sophie that I was writing a book. “Oh, that’s interesting. What’s it about?” she asked, reasonably. Hmmm; another tricky question. It’s nice when people take an interest, but I find it hard to give them a satisfying soundbite in return. So I usually say (cryptically, I admit) “Oh, it’s about real life and ordinary folk.” If pressed further, I then tell them it is about a dysfunctional collection of people, who live on a modern housing estate much like the one I live on (Sophie too, for that matter). At which point, I am highly adept at switching the focus back to the other person and moving swiftly on.
I can’t help but feel sheepish when I admit to writing fiction – partly because I’ve had some very funny reactions in the past. One lady said; “Ah, bless you – it’s nice to have a little hobby…I’ve got my colouring books.”
Now I’m not knocking adult colouring books, but I don’t think it is comparing apples with apples. Surely colouring books are supposed to be relaxing, and there’s nothing relaxing about trying to dream up new characters, settings and plotlines – or worse, sweating over a blank page when all inspiration deserts you.
Perhaps when I publish my first book (which happily is looking like a distinct possibility), I will feel more equipped to deal with the question; what do you do? Until then, don’t be surprised if when you ask, I start wittering about how my hydrangeas came up blind this year, or about it being time for Rodney’s flea treatment…
http://www.beverleyharvey.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/white_logo.jpg00Beverley Harveyhttp://www.beverleyharvey.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/white_logo.jpgBeverley Harvey2016-09-21 10:51:542020-09-03 09:07:17And what do you do...?