Beth Hunt

POLICE REPORT (alias the inner critic)

The police have been notified.
They are out to get me.

I’m a fraud, a wannabe writer on the run.  Where can I hide?  In a mouse hole?  Down a drain?  Am I crazy?  Did I really think I could pull this off?  Look at me.  I can hardly string a sentence together, dot an i or cross a t, let alone write a Luc Bat.  Sounds like the name of a vampire species, rock star or maybe a Pakistani cricketer.  But here’s the thing, it’s actually a Vietnamese structure of poetry composing 6 and 8 metre lines. Great! I become dyslexic just counting the fingers on one hand. I’m all thumbs … 6,8,6,8,6,8,8 .. I mean 6 … Oh, for heavens sake!

The real reason I’m here though is not to freak out on Asian arithmetic but to write like Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf or Katherine Mansfield.  Of course, I’d be happy if I could just  pen words along the lines of Marian Keyes, Jodi Picoult or Anita Shreve … Maybe Erica Jong, ‘Fear of Fifty’ … A little late to be thinking of that now.

The police are not interested in these minor details.  They have filed their report.  The evidence is there, blogged out in block letters, starting with … well, how appropriate …  Blocked, stuck, messy, empty, devoid of words, no ideas, the creativity of a cauliflower.

If I could be as prolific as Danielle Steele, or any one of those glamour chic lit authors, I’d be happy.  There has to be a formula out there, some secret code belonging to these highly evolved scribes for mastering time, churning out 5000 words a day, spinning yarns and raking up relationships into best sellers which are then sold off to the highest bidder to be translated into twenty different languages.

Look at J K Rowling.  How can she possibly be an ordinary earthbound mortal?  One moment in a queue waiting for a dole handout … the next … well, it’s history now.  But someone with that kind of luck has to be hatched out of a fairy’s egg.

It’s all so daunting but just when I think I’m getting the hang of this 6/8 metre Edward de Bono mindbender I go and lose the plot completely.

Total exposure … Dumb bat!
Sentence is passed.

The beefy police woman with her red lips pursed together like Velcro gives it to me in no uncertain terms, bouncing her baton up and down on the beeswax tabletop probably wishing it was my head and reads out my punishment as if she’s announcing the weather report.

One year of writing morning pages à la Julia Cameron and ‘The Artist’s Way’.  Three hundred and sixty five days with a serious, intentional commitment to filling up lined notebooks with words which I shall only peruse once I have completed my twelve month sentence.

And practise, practise, practise …!!!

Just so I get the hang of things there’s nothing like a little literary warm up with an alphabetical jog around the block (excuse the pun!)  …

All brilliant chefs do enviable feats, gastronomically halving, icing, juicing, kneading, layering, marinating nine omelette pancakes, quartering raisins, spooning them under very wholesome Xmas yeasty zabaglione.

The things some chefs get up to!


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