Workshops and rape kits…

Posted: September 22, 2011 in Publishing

So I got asked to attend a writer’s workshop. “You think I need one?” was my first response. Again, and not learning from the last debacle, I was asked to attend to give advice. Yes, you read right, Advice? On what? That aspirin will not bring a dead prostitute back to life? My second response was “Workshop?” Maybe it’s just me, but I am of the opinion that anyone who uses the term ‘workshop’ and isn’t a carpenter is a twat.
Yet again, I discovered book snobbery, “Wouldn’t you like to have written an epic? Something memorable like War and Peace?” No, In short. I couldn’t give a fuck. Believe it or not, I wrote from the heart. Though stupid, there is much integrity with Malice in Blunderland. So like the others I performed a very short reading, picking the parts that were not so offensive it could give you a nosebleed. To which, after this older guy with big flaps of skin hanging from his neck said, “Son – you can write.” He was shocked. “Thank you.” I replied. He then said, “Why don’t you go and write a proper book?” I was asked to not swear, but could feel my lips forming the word ‘cunt’. I was going to ask, “Why does your neck have a vagina?” but others came and a healthy debate followed.

A proper book? I got a whiff of X-factor there too. That “I want to be famous, I don’t care what for!” Writers with a desire to write this epic, but without the content to fit those big shoes. Caring more about what their book should be, than is? The desire to win an award. I have only one desire for my book, and my publishers will have me for saying it. I couldn’t give a flying 747 fuck if Malice in Blunderland is a sales success. There are those who think about what they haven’t got, and there are those who think about what they have. I’m the latter. I have all I need. My home is tatty but near the beach, I have some cool surfboards and I have time. What I want from Malice in Blunderland is laughter. That’s it.
Let me explain. Many years ago when I did the London thing, I was, like so many others, crammed into a tube. Nose to cheek with other commuters that hated their jobs, were exhausted or were self-fulfilling nightmares. But there was a guy, reading a book, who unexpectedly burst out laughing. I mean uncontrollable laughter. He looked about, embarrassed, but couldn’t stop. The author reached out from the pages, grabbed him by the tie, pulled him in and whispered the best punch line into his ear, like an IV to the brain. The mood lifted in that train for a brief moment, observers caught the laughter like the flu, just laughing at his laughter, wondering what he found so funny. For the rest of the journey people craned their necks to see what was being read. Unlike other emotions, if you read something thrilling, emotional or even erotic, you can internally digest it. Not so with laughter. It externally explodes, laughter is an exhibitionist, can be unexpected and involuntary. Okay so it may not be as emotional or memorable, It won’t last and be with you in your heart. It can be like Chinese food, satisfies your hunger, but an hour later, your hungry again. However it can be a fantastic quick fix to a shitty day. It can be like herpes though. Lying dormant in the dark recesses of your brain, until you are reminded by someone who had just read the same book, and the laughter, along with the memory of where you contracted the gag is recalled.

Writing a thriller, characters, dialogue is difficult. I understand that. But, I believe writing a gag into it, laying the seeds of a punchline, to reveal two chapters ahead, unexpected gags, and gags that don’t seem shoe-horned in for the sake of being funny, is all the more difficult. Okay, so Malice in Blunderland my not be a classic. It may not win any awards. My only hope is that someone belly laughs because of it. Is laughing as he explains a part of the story, convincing a guy who doesn’t read books with “you have to read it.” My work will be done. Just to get that reaction.

It is the same reason I keep a rape kit in the boot of my car. Whenever anyone goes to the boot and finds it, the reaction is priceless, I laugh, they laugh… but there is that voice in their head “Oh my GOOOOOD, could he?”

  1. awasht says:

    It is pretty darn rare to see someone laugh out loud from a book! If you can do it, Sir I salute you!

  2. This is terrific! My favorite thing is laughter. I give a daily virtual award for the first person or thing that gives me a laugh-out-loud moment. My kids and grands compete for the award. The award often goes to a book. I find my own laughter loud and obnoxious, but just can’t tone it down, and others don’t seem to mind.
    I can see I’m going to have fun following your blog, so I’m thanking you in advance.

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