Monday, 31 January 2011

A friend in need

I've just joined Goodreads.com, so if you're a member there please 'friend' me. Am so lonely ...

Monday, 24 January 2011

Complimentary therapy

From awkwardfamilyphotos.com
Women receive more compliments than men. Does that statement ring true? When considering compliments about the way I look, it certainly rings true for me. When talking things physical, it really is better – more rewarding - to give than receive.

In my fifty-six years I've received one compliment regarding my physicalitynessitude:
February 19th 2004, 2:17pm, “You have nice eyes.” The charming young lady who uttered those kind words looked up from the photograph of me, back at the photo, back to me, the photo, me, photo, me, photo, then said, “And they say the camera never lies?”

Before you reach for your hanky to dab away those tears of pity, I have been complimented many times on other aspects. Here's one that really got to the heart of the matter:
There are days when even a pleasantly-plump bloke with greying hair and beard feels good about himself. A few years ago, I ran a telemarketing company (yes, yes, I do penance every day) 'manned' mostly by women, when such a day dawned. New shoes, new trousers, new shirt, my normally independently-minded hair was cooperating, and, my scales had informed me that I was a pound lighter than the previous day. I felt good. Striding confidently about the vast telesales floor I fancied I cut quite the dashing figure.
A young – mid twenties – attractive young operator came scuttling up to me. “I love working here,” she proclaimed.
“Happy to hear that,” said I.
“It's just like working for Father Christmas,” she gushed.

I'll leave you to imagine the fixed smile on my face as I thanked her.

There is one compliment I can never get enough of and am still glowing from as I type: my twelve year old daughter, unceremoniously plonking herself on my lap, curling up, sighing and saying, “I love you, daddy.”

It doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Facepalm Thursday


After reading "Pearl, Why You Little..."'s latest post about her time as an executive assistant, I was reminded of this:

Some years ago I was Chief Exec of a fairly well known (in the UK anyway) company - my recently hired 'executive assistant' came into our monthly board meeting, pulled up a chair, opened her plastic tub and started eating the contents. Responding to my raised eyebrow she explained, "You said I should bring sandwiches in at one o'clock." That was the first, and last, time I've witnessed eleven simultaneous facepalms.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Socks, exploding toilets and writing

Bad news, like Bologna sausage, is often best delivered as a sandwich.

Soft, crusty bottom slice: I received thirteen pairs of socks for Christmas. Thirteen. How is this a good thing? The last few birthdays and Christmases I've noticed the socks gifted to me have been thin, black, shiny, nylon, barely-above-ankle-socks. The kind of socks modelled by men of advanced years who probably have no more say over their sartorial needs than a strategically shaved chimp has over its resemblance to George Bush. These thirteen pairs are soft, trendily patterned, flash-able, well-above-ankle-socks. (Okay. As good news that sucks. But that's the best I had for 2010.)

The not-so-tasty filling: the toilet in my 'lodge' exploded. I have a three bedroomed wooden hut in Scotland which the rest of the family refer to as 'The Lodge'. Last month the temperature dipped below -20°C. Cold enough to split copper pipes, burst plastic shower housings and splinter ceramic toilet suites. The nice man with a van is still working on it. I wait eagerly for the bill. Not.

Yummy top slice: 2010 has been one of my toughest ever. Book sales have dropped, I only managed to sell  fifteen short stories, other work has been virtually non-existent and self doubt has meant I've started and stopped four novels. The novel situation has been the worst.  One day the idea looks great, the next it's not good enough, so I switch to another. A depressing cycle that threatened to consume me. Until yesterday. A young woman who's writing I admire praised a book of mine. I practically cried with relief that someone thought my efforts were not a complete waste of paper. It  gave me such a boost I've churned out twenty-five thousand words and haven't slept yet. And yes. I do recognise how shallow this need for praise makes me seem. But I don't care. I'm working again.

A belated Happy New Year everyone.