Most weeks Papst and I laugh over beers on a Friday night. Sometimes I’m in better shape, sometimes he is. He laments on his art and I on things that happen to me in the real world.
I’m one of those, “It could only happen to you,” types. When I was five I enraged my father because I called him a fucker. I was five years old. And I’d never heard that word before. We always watched The A-Team and Mr T’s big catchphrase was of course: “You Sucker!” which we would shout at each other. One time though he was angry with me so I thought calling him a sucker was too strong. So I made up a word that sounded like sucker.
You could not make this stuff up.
Funny things happen on the way to work, like me buying biscuits to eat while waiting for the tube. The bloke next to me without even asking starts eating them. We were both so quiet and English and embarrassed, watching each other out the corners of our eyes sharing a packet of biscuits awkwardly.
On the train, I saw my packet of biscuits unopened in my bag. I’d been eating his biscuits. “He’s probably telling the exact same story now,” I said to Papst, “except for the punch line.”
Funny things happen at work. I had a big presentation the other week and was sticking flip chart papers to the wall when they fell and sliced through my hands. I had to do the presentation wrapped in bandages which didn’t stop the blood loss, I got five minutes into the thing before the room started to spin and I was on my back.
But you want to know the funniest thing that happened to me? Last week my good writer-friend of ten years said he’d finished a novel and wanted me to take a look at it for some honest feedback.
It was all my stories.
He’d taken my stories and he’d written a novel with them.
“It’s hard to give an opinion,” I said jokingly. “Because it’s all stuff that happened to me.”
“Yeah,” Papst laughed.
That was it. He didn’t have another word to say on the matter. Now he asks me how my week went. I shrug my shoulders. “Same old shit,” is all I have to say about that. The conversation doesn’t flow and there are no laughs. We end up leaving early.
It’s good in a way because I have time for my writing project. I still have some good stories. I’ve written them all down and the piece has a good thread tying them altogether, the central character – a writer who makes a career stealing other people’s stories.
It’s a rewarding experience, the creative juices flow, ideas grow out of ideas, pushing your reluctant creative self until you find that thrilling ZONE…
I feel like I’ve lost something though.
published 20 April 2011