Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.


Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Hammering in a nail with a pound of butter

The problem with fictional characters is that they have no respect for the fact that you created them in the first place. They just don't care, that's the thing.

"Elsie," I said to one of mine five minutes ago. Elsie, for the record, is a 61 year old cross between Father Christmas and Queen Victoria. "Could you try being a little more affectionate in this chapter, please? The scene lacks warmth."
"Lacks warmth?" she replied. "What nonsense. You can't hammer a nail in with a pound of butter, love."
"What the hell does that mean?" I say tiredly, putting my hand over my eyes.
"Don't you worry yourself about it. Now, pet, you're in no position to be nagging, in fairness. I've not seen hide nor hair of you in weeks. None of us have."
I start to kick my feet against the walls of my imagination like a teenager.
"I've been a bit busy," I say sulkily. "This job thing came up, and I... You know. Got distracted."
"Well that's all very well and good," she replied briskly, "but what are we supposed to do in the meantime, eh? You've left me with no knitting or anything to keep me busy."
"I know all about fame," Mike butts in, "being a writer myself, but you have to remember that I'm trying to win my pregnant girlfriend back, and I can't do that if you don't write the bloody scene in the first place."
"You're not a writer, Mike," I point out gently. "You're an accountant."
Mike bridles.
"What's that got to do with anything? I can write, can't I? How hard can it be, for God's sake? And it's not like you've ever been paid for it, either. I'm as much of a writer as you are."
"Fair point," I say.
"Michael," Elsie butts in. "You're getting away from the point. Young lady, we need you to get back here and keep us going. What are we going to do in the meantime? We're all bored rigid: we've been standing in the same position for a fortnight now."
"We'll be alright," Imogen says quietly. "Honestly, Hols. It'll be fine. Make the most of it, and don't worry about us."
"Couldn't give less of a shit, actually,' Molly interjects. "This is so not all about you."
Harold and Marianne, in the meantime, are both in the garden: too busy ignoring each other to notice that I'm even missing.

"Enough," I finally shouted at them. "You just behave, the lot of you: for the love of God, behave! You're my creations, and if I need to do something else then I need to do something else! You just sit quietly and deal with it like the imaginary characters you are, and leave me to get on with whatever I'm doing, okay?"
"Not really," Elsie points out reasonably, hoisting up her bra with her hands. "It doesn't work like that, pet, and you know it as well as we do."

And she's right. It doesn't work like that. Whatever happens with this competition - however long I'm away - I never really let them go. They're always lurking in the back of my head somewhere: smoking, throwing things, crying, picking spots, doing whatever it is they're doing when I'm not there. And they don't care that I created them: they do their own things, willy nilly, as if they owe me nothing at all. Demanding, insensitive, noisy. And it can be exhausting, but I love it.

I thought I wasn't ready for children, but apparently I've already got six of them.