Saturday, 28 September 2013

Turning my nose up at snobs

I'm a terrible snob.

I don't care about what people wear. You can look as shabby as you want. I'm not going to judge you harshly. 

I don't care about the music people listen to. Classical or pop. Hip and cool or golden oldies. Whatever gets you tapping your toes is fine by me.

I don't care about what people eat. If haute cuisine is your thing, that's cool. If you're more partial to McDonalds, that's cool too.

I don't even care what people read. If it's airport fiction or supposed literary masterpieces, it really makes no difference to me. (admittedly, I'd prefer it if more people were reading books by me, but that's another story)

But despite this apparent tolerance, I'm still a terrible snob. There's one thing in particular that gets me turning my nose up, every time I witness it.

That thing is snobbery.

I can't stand snobs. I despise them. Those people who think they are better than other people, just because they wear more expensive clothes, or believe their taste in music or books or whatever somehow makes them superior to others.

I judge that kind of behaviour really harshly. I definitely believe that I'm superior to people like that. I guess you could say that I'm snobbish about snobs.

Of course, I have to live by me own standards. If I'm snobbish about snobs, this means that I am a snob, which means I have to be snobbish about myself. I definitely think that I'm far better than myself. If I ever see me walking down the street, I'll always turn my nose up at myself.

And now that I've managed to completely confuse myself, I think I'll go and have a long lie down.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

I'm not that deep

I love to read. I guess that, being a writer myself, this isn't something particularly surprising.

I'm constantly amazed at the breadth of narratives around. So many different writing styles. So many different ways to tell a story. But one thing that I really admire is the ability of writers to really dig down deep, to nail their characters in complex ways, and place them in intricate, multi-level stories.

I'm blown away with the way writers can get into their characters' heads. How they can develop lengthy interior monologues that capture so much about a character. How they can create plots that twist and turn in so many ways, beyond any reader's expectations. How they can create descriptions which make you feel like you're actually there, seeing things with your own eyes.

I'm in awe of these writers, and I'm also more than a little bit jealous. I just can't create stories like that. I can't create such complex interior worlds for my characters. I can't describe their exterior worlds in anywhere near the same detail. And there's a very good reason for that.

I'm just not that deep.

I can't do those interior monologues because I don't have them myself. My mind tends to skim over the surface, avoiding any attempts to dig down deeper. And I can't create those detailed descriptions because my eyes don't seem to register things in such a close-eyed way. They just flitter from one thing to another, getting the basic idea but not the specifics.

Is that a bad thing? Should I be upset with myself for my lack of depth? Should I make more of an effort to create more layers to myself?

I'm not sure. At this stage of my life, I figure I'm not going to change. I don't think I could ever write those "deep" sorts of stories. But maybe that's okay. Sure, there's nothing to stop me enjoying the craft that goes into creating them. But maybe there's room for my sorts of stories as well. For stories that flit around on the surface in (hopefully) surprising and amusing ways.

Who knows. Maybe readers will find their own depths in there. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Who are you looking at? Probably not me

Have you ever tried to play spot the writer?

It's not too hard. Wherever you are, whether walking through a crowd or sitting in a restaurant or cafe, take a look around and see if you can figure out which of the people you see are writers. At least that's the easy part. The difficult part is, like me you'll probably have no idea whether you're right or not (unless you go up to people directly and ask, which may be a little on the awkward side).

That's the great thing about being a writer. How you look makes no difference at all. There are no dress requirements or uniforms. And there are also no particular requirements to look great, like there are for actors and models, or to have extraordinary physical prowess like athletes.

Anyone you see could be a writer. We come in all shapes and sizes. We also come in any kind of packaging. True, there may be cliches about the bohemian writer, sitting in a cool cafe and drinking coffee while mulling on their latest literary masterpiece. But I suspect there are far more writers who diverge from this stereotype than those who conform to it.

That's one of the really great things I like about writing. Just as there are an innumerable number of stories, so there are an innumerable number of authors, each with their own styles of writing as well as living.

And I also like that being a writer doesn't define me as a person. It's something that I do, and that I enjoy. But there's an awful lot more to me than that. Even though I would love to be successful, I'm always happy to fly under the radar. I'd hate to be the sort of person who has to fend off admirers at the local supermarket (admittedly a fairly unlikely possibility).

So whether you're playing the game of spot the author or just looking around and people watching in general, I have a feeling that the person you're looking at isn't me. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

I'm serious about being funny

I'm an extremely serious person.

You may not believe me. If you know me well, I'm sure you won't believe me.

Aren't I supposed to be a funny guy? Aren't I constantly reeling off jokes and zingers and puns and other kinds of randomly absurd observations about the vagaries of life in general and writing in particular.

All right, so maybe I do. But as far as I can tell, that's no reason to suggest that I'm not an extremely serious person.

There's a particular reason why I think I can support my claim that it's actually the fact that I am funny (well allegedly anyway) that makes me such a serious person. Here goes:

Being funny is hard work.

Don't believe me? Just try it some time. Go out there and make people laugh. It's not as easy as it sounds. Ok, I know there are some people out there who can just do it naturally. All they have to do is breathe and they can have everybody else falling over themselves in fits of laughter. But I'm not like that.

To people like me, being funny is a commitment. It's a goal that you set, and towards which you then need to work. It takes practice and dedication in order to achieve this goal at a regular level - to consistently say or write things with the requisite amount of hilarity.

And getting the amount right is a big part of it. Too little, and it will just seem anaemic. Too much and it will seem forced. It's a delicate balance, requiring hard work and skill and experience to get right. I'm not even sure I have.

So there you have it. Immutable evidence that I'm as serious as the next person, and more serious than many. I'm working hard, dedicating myself towards reaching a goal. The fact that it's a very silly goal does nothing to lessen the commitment required.

When it comes to being funny, I'm deadly serious.