Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A word of encouragement

The writer Jill Dawson once told me that she went to the doctor about some ailment and the doctor, upon learning that she was a writer said, 'I'm going to write a book when I retire.' Whereupon, Jill with considerable sharpness, replied, 'That's interesting because I'm going to be a doctor when I retire.'

I always wish I could come out with a reply like that. But I never do. However, I thought I would regale you with a collection of some of the encouraging comments which I've heard over the last thirty years. So here they are.

1. When I was working as a teacher
Parent: Can’t you get him to read, Mr Keaney. He won’t read for me. I stand over him and I say, ‘You read that book!’ but he won’t.
Me: What are you reading at the moment?
Parent (scornfully): Oh, I haven’t got time for reading!

2. Senior Publishing Executive shortly after ordering a £45 bottle of wine with company credit card.
Have you any idea how much it costs to get a set of posters designed and printed, Brian?

3. Junior Marketing Assistant at party
Your new book seems to be doing well. Must be the cover.

4. Senior Marketing Assistant at same party.
Your new book seems to be doing well. Must be the cover.

5. Same Junior Marketing Assistant at same party but now quite drunk.
I’m glad I don’t work in editorial. You know what authors are like. Oops, sorry, I forgot! You are an author. (Giggles)

6. My brother
Brian doesn’t have a proper job.

7. Teacher whose class I am about to address
Teacher: Now I know that Mr Keaney is going to tell us all about how we should improve our writing by adding lots of lovely describing words. And we know what they’re called, don’t we? Hands up.
Pupil: Adjectives, miss.
Teacher: Very good, Siobhan! Adjectives are the words that make writing come to life and I know that when we listen to Mr Keaney’s writing we’re going to hear lots of exciting adjectives that we can use in our own writing.

8. Bossy middle class father
Do children actually read books any more?

9. Unpublished poet who mysteriously asked me to talk to her writing group
But do you really think there’s any point in books for teenagers? I mean I went straight from children’s books to Jane Austen and George Eliot. Don’t you think we should be encouraging them to read proper literature?

10. Everybody and his uncle
I bet you wish you made as much money as J K Rowling

1 comment:

Jarucia said...

Hilarious collection. Reminds me of comments I heard during my years as a nanny.