In which the penny drops and we wait for the life’s chunky KitKat to drop to the bottom of fate’s vending machine (or something).
Hat trick – the term originated in cricket. A bowler who retired three batsmen to three consecutive balls earned himself a new hat, paid for by the club.
I googled and now I know that it doesn’t really work so well to describe the three firsts I experienced during an Mlitt class one evening this week. Still, it’ll have to do.
The first first was that it was the first EP (Editing and Publication) class of the term, and of my life. It was an evening spent in discussion of book reviews and in the company of a member of the increasingly rare breed that is the professional literary critic.
The second first was that I joined the class from the comfort of my desk at home via the wonders of Webex. Hardly revolutionary, but I hadn’t done it before. Anyone in the class, I was the one you could see having frantic whispered conversations with an off-screen eight year old.
The third first is the most significant. Best till last and all that. And it’s a first because it’s the first time I realised what had been going with every single round-the-table introduction or ‘elevator pitch’ of my life. At the start of the session, everyone had their half minute in the spotlight. Round the room we had “novelist”, “poet”, “fantasy writer”, “writer of creative non-fiction” and so on. As always with this sort of thing, I spend the time only partly paying attention as I try to think of something clever, memorable or passibly good enough to say when my turn comes.
What was I going to be this time? A short story writer – does it count if you’ve only written a modest batch? A novelist – three potential best-sellers stalled after a promising start? Blogger with delusions? Frustrated copywriter? Then I recognised the feeling. Far ago, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d grope around for an answer that might be the most winning at that moment. Nurse, vet, dancer, ghost hunter, psychologist, company director, witch (white).
It’s time to stop making up winning answers – of coming up with notions too fantastical and distant to ever hope to come true. If I write the things that are in my head, then I’m a writer. Must be. So, if we ever meet, you and I, and you ask who I am, listen to what I say. If I tell you I’m anything other than a writer, stamp very hard on my toe and tell me I’m wrong.