A colleague retired the other day after 37 years in the job. More than a hundred people turned up for his farewell dinner — about three per year of service, if you want to measure it like that.
It occurred to me a different kind of man (or a side we’ve never seen) might measure the years differently, and put the gathering to another use — a little ricin in the risotto perhaps — and when we all begin to buckle and heave, takes to the podium to recite the snubs, slurs and slights we’ve committed against him across the course of his service.
The revenge motive.
The scenario has enough meat on it for a decent short story. A dish served cold (though in this case warm) with a side of spring salad and a dryish shiraz. I prefer a racy sancerre, but, you know, beggars etc.
This is my response to the reaction you get from others upon hearing you’ve finished a book — “I always wanted to be a writer! I have all these good ideas!” — as if ideas are nuggets of ore you can kick up
I think book-worthy ideas are more like a hailstorm. Talent lies in identifying those worth snatching up and chucking in the freezer before they melt away. They are everywhere, all the time, so how do you recognize the keepers?
For me, they are colder than most, heavier than expected, and malformed as if something is trapped inside, twisted like their birth in the stratosphere was an agony.
I know this doesn’t help, but that’s the point. If you approach writing with a “what is commercially viable” in mind, then you just end up with a wet handful of ice.
The idea has to be interesting to ME or I won’t want to strap on my boots and start down that long, hard, lonely road. You’ll know when it’s time. It’s like Elvis once said, a little less conversation…
Thanks for reading my second post.