I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have enjoyed many years as a successful writer. My career began when I became a major contributor to a leading, local magazine. I’ll never forget the thrill of first seeing my name in print: Lance aged 9 ¾. It was my primary school’s magazine and the work was a no holds barred write up of a day trip to Windsor Safari Park. It enjoyed unprecedented critical acclaim from classmates including my rendering of the sea lions being memorably described as “fairly accurate.”
Sadly, after that initial great success, the work dried up. This period of struggle against the harsh winter of literary wilderness would have tested the resolve of even the most hardened writers. But I was fuelled by an unwavering belief that my talent would eventually rise back up to the top. These instincts were vindicated when, after many years and failed attempts, one of my letters was published by the local newspaper. I was overflowing with pride when my Magnus Opus The Council’s Shocking Easter Period Refuge Collection Schedule won the much-coveted accolade “Angry Rant of the Week”. Unsurprisingly, this phenomenal success was showered with gushing praise by the Neighbourhood Watch Committee. In recent years I’ve embraced the great changes wrought by the digital age and adapted to this new literary landscape. As such, my work has taken the form of a long-running series of Gumtree adverts –a personal highlight being the pithily entitled Fishing Rod for Sale.
Budding young writers often eagerly ask what has been the key to my glittering success. I always impart the same advice: the cornerstone of successful writing is a sound understanding of grammar. Personally, this occurred by accident when I took a wrong turn at the community centre. When the teacher began discussing split infinitives, I thought, “Hold on a second, this isn’t my Zumba class.” But this act of serendipity proved extremely fruitful. The teacher’s explanation on comma usage finally cleared up the confusion surrounding that Police visit when I listed my interests on Facebook as “I like eating dogs and children.”
I was too embarrassed to admit my mistake, so I remained for the whole lesson (while stubbornly maintaining that I always attend creative writing classes wearing an illuminous, yellow leotard). I think my classmates were eventually convinced, despite the loud Zumba music echoing down the corridor. Irregardless, I felt that myself had truly learned the principals a bout grammar. Inspite of being to embarrassed too return four that next lessons their was now very little that I donut no.
But there is another side of that particular coin, if you choose to use such clichéd metaphors, and that’s the ability to create, to conjure up if you will, sentences which are uncompromisingly captivating while simultaneously remaining clear, concise and highly readable as this ability, a natural one for some, but one which most have to rigidly work at, truly allows your words to jump from the page arresting your reader’s attention while rendering them powerless to resist the temptation of turning the next page in a desperate bid to quench the curiosity which the twists and turns of your compelling story telling has conspired to create, which I believe is my strongest suit.
Alongside writing ability there’s also the necessity of engaging subject matter. So what qualifies me to discuss the topics that I do? Firstly, I’m incredibly well-travelled (I’ve been to Barnstaple twice). Politically, I’m a Marxist (mainly Groucho, but they were all exceptional in Duck Soup). They say a sign of those who know their history is that they don’t repeat it. Well, I proudly lurch from one new fresh disaster to the next. I’ve a proven track record in understanding current affairs. For example, back in 2003 everyone claimed that a misguided, pre-emptive war predicated on media manipulation, fabricated evidence and outright lies against a sovereign nation posing no direct threat with no clear exit strategy would create a power vacuum into which vicious factions would descend destabilising the region causing a horrifying outbreak of bloody sectarian violence, but I said, “I don’t care. I’m trimming my neighbour’s buddleia anyway. It’s coming over my fence.” We haven’t spoken since.