Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Party Time

This year my publisher held their Christmas party in a champagne bar in Soho. I am always grateful to be asked, of course. Indeed, I’d be distinctly miffed to be left off the list. Nevertheless, I always find the experience difficult. I suppose I’ve just never really learned how to behave at parties.

I generally try to find somewhere on the fringe of the party where I can sit down and quietly go into a trance; and I had managed to lay claim to a reasonably comfortable nook when a young woman came and sat down next to me. I knew right away that she was an illustrator. You can always tell. Generally it’s the shoes that give them away.

Anyway, she asked what I did and I said I was a writer. I knew what was coming because conversations that start like this always end up in the same place – the similarities, or differences, in how writers and illustrators work. Eventually this always leads to an exchange that goes more or less like this.

Illustrator: So you write on a computer?
Me: Yes.
Illustrator: What, the whole thing?
Me: Yes
Illustrator: What, right from the start?
Me: Yes.
Illustrator: But don’t you ever want to use a pen?
Me: Not really.
Illustrator: Not even to make notes or something?
Me: No.
Illustrator: But do you like writing on a computer or is it just because it’s more convenient?
Me: I like writing on a computer. You see it’s like a pen but much better.
Illustrator: (Pause while she considers this.) But don’t you ever feel like, I don’t know, like… you really just want to use a pen?

All the time this conversation is going on, it’s getting harder and harder for us to hear each other, even though we are only inches apart. This is because people are pouring into the bar all the time and the bar staff are constantly going round proffering trays laden with champagne. Consequently, everyone is getting increasingly animated and talking more and more loudly.

The illustrator says something else about using a pen. It sounds suspiciously like ‘But don’t you ever feel you like you just want to get dirty?’ I decide that one of us may be a little drunk and I’m fairly convinced it isn’t me.

‘I can’t really hear what you’re saying,’ I tell her.
She nods. ‘We’d be better of texting each other,’ she says.

I hate texting but I decide to keep that information to myself.


Josh Lacey said...

Tell us more about the shoes! What is it that we should look out for?

Brian Keaney said...

They are very often of goblin manufacture.

Derek said...

I must admit you wrong-footed me; I was expecting the illustrator to try and pitch you for some work!

Brian Keaney said...

She would have known better than to try to get work from a writer, Derek.

Jon Paul said...

Nice. I find I do exactly the same thing at parties, although I still tend to keep the fact that I write to myself. Maybe someday I'll let the cat out of the bag...

On a different topic, I wanted to stop in and say thank you. I'm celebrating my blog's one year anniversary today. Thanks for helping make it such a great year for me--and helping me stick with it.

Brian Keaney said...

Thanks, Jon Paul. I hope the next twelve months is even better for you.