(A very short story, by me.)
Jane was having a perfectly wonderful day. There were no unexpected interruptions or nosey neighbours dropping by. In fact, she was having such a fabulous day sitting on the couch with her coffee and novel, while the cleaner ironed quietly in the corner, that she felt quite inspired to write something.
Jane is an author, you see. Well, she knows that she is and truly believes, down to her beautifully pedicured little toe, that an author is what she has been born to be. The rest of the world might not have caught on yet, but it was only a matter of time before they did and then the adulation would start.
The Husband and Children had already recognised Jane’s considerable talent and reminded her of it at the most inappropriate times. After all, inspiration doesn’t come at the flick of a switch. It is a fickle thing and requires a great deal of musing and contemplative staring at the horizon; preferably accompanied by a good chardonnay, while debating the nature of all things and that age-old question: “Why are we here?” This was in fact one of Jane’s favourite philosophical questions and she could spend hours thinking up the most inventive answers to it.
Unfortunately, The Children did not see the creative necessity of staring off into space, and would keep asking idiotic questions such as: “Mommy, once you are famous, can I have a pony?”, or “Mommy, Daddy said once you are famous and rich, we will have a house on a golf course and he can stop working. Does that mean we will have space for a pony?” and “Mommy, why aren’t you writing? I WANT A PONY!”
The little darlings …
So, there Jane was, caught up in that blissful cloud of inspiration, tapping away at the keyboard of her sexy red laptop, bought specifically for her writing career. After all, proper writers need proper writing tools. It said so in one of the many books on writing that she had bought over the years. It also said things like, “outline your story before you start”, “research your facts” and “pay attention to grammar and spacing”, but really, who has the time for all of that?
Sometimes, for a millisecond or two, Jane felt a teensy bit uneasy about the amount of money she had already spent on all those books, online courses, editing software and so on (half of which The Husband has no knowledge of), but luckily that didn’t last very long. Besides, all that money would be returned 100-fold, once the world realised that the next JK Rowling was waiting in the wings.
So, you might ask, what exactly has Jane been writing?
One of the half-started stories on her sexy red laptop (and there are many of those – half-started stories, not laptops) is about a little witch called Sally who goes off to a wizarding school where she makes two wonderful friends called Minnie and Ronny. They get up to all kinds of mischief and eventually save the school and all their friends from a dark wizard called Volé.
For some reason, none of the publishers or agents to whom Jane had submitted her outline for Sally Sotter, were receptive to this delightful children’s book. One even went so far as to advise her on the issues of copyright, plagiarism and all those boring legalities.
Jane was quite miffed and decided to spite the world and keep the adventures of Sally Sotter to herself. That would show them! Over a glass of G&T (or three) that evening, Jane told The Husband where to find the manuscript, just in case she suddenly died of an incurable tropical disease. Once she had “crossed over”, it would be worth millions of pounds and he could sell it off so that The Children could at least get that pony and he could stop working, even though Jane herself would be rotting away in her grave.
The Husband was very understanding and assured Jane that they would miss her very much indeed if she was to die and to please make sure she gave him the password to her laptop.
Jane had a wonderful night’s sleep, dreaming of her fabulous funeral and fat, balding editors pulling their last hair out because they had rejected her.
Another story on the sexy red laptop, and this one is actually finished, is about a little bee called Maija. Maija is very adventurous and desperately bored being cooped up in the hive all day. So she flies off and makes friends with a little old lady in the city. To cut a long story short, eventually Maija saves the little old lady’s life and miraculously restores all the pollen to the flowers in the park (there was a drought and all the flowers had died etc. etc.).
It was around this time that The Bee Movie came out and Jane was quite shocked to see the similarity between her story and the movie. “The bastards!” she thought. “Do these film companies employ hackers to trawl known aspiring authors’ computers for brilliant stories to steal?”
She seriously considered suing, but had to give up on that idea after The Husband showed her the state of their bank account and asked if she had any idea how it had gotten like that. So she settled for changing her computer’s password to ‘fuckwit’ (thanks Fiona Gibson). Surely no hacker will think of that?
Then there are also the stories about the vampire hero who falls in love with an unattainable girl; the killer car; the magic wardrobe and the mouse that could cook.
People could say many things about Jane (and they did), but one thing that they couldn’t say, was that she gave up too easily. There she was, happily typing and sipping coffee, buzzing with caffeine and convinced that she’s on the verge of creating the next best seller.
In her (very vivid) imagination, she was already having high tea with JKR, chatting away with Stephen King (such a horrible accident, the poor man) and thumbing her nose at Terry Brooks (he of the ‘outline your story’ fame).
Because maybe, just maybe, today would be the day that Jane would actually tap into that weird world where wickedly wonderful stories just lie and wait to be picked up and told in all the different languages of this planet.
It is very unlikely … but not at all impossible.