The York Festival of Writing is less than three days away and I am feeling thoroughly unprepared. Although, I have engaged in a spot of my favourite type of procrastination – I have made a packing list.
It has separate columns and everything.
I am fairly sure it contains mainly useful items, despite the best efforts of HWSNBN, his mum and his sister and her friend who wiled away Saturday’s post-Doctor Who boredom by shouting unhelpful suggestions.
Actually, the second one might not be so daft given the vast amount of drinking that went on last year.
I have also managed to print off everything I need, despite my printer going into one of its fairly frequent sulks.
Don’t have any black ink.
Er, yes you do. [hits OK button]
Oh bugger off, you do so have ink. [hits Ok button fifteen times]
Fine. Have it your own way but don’t blame me if your novel is printed in a bilious pink-tinged yellow hue.
Looks black to me.
Not talking to you. You’re mean. Want more ink.
[closes cupboard door on outraged whirring and beeping noises]
So I thought I had better make an effort and stop burying my head in the sand about the fact that I have to stand up and read out loud to 400 people on Friday night. My initial impulse was to get drunk. Ideally, to that stage of drunkenness where you feel the need to articulate everything v-e-r-y c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y, as that would actually work out pretty well. However, given my abysmal post-baby alcohol tolerance levels, I am very far from convinced that I can manage that level of accuracy and I think it would probably be better if I didn’t wobble up onto the stage, giggle and fall asleep.
I therefore came up with a great plan. I would video myself.
If you ignore the fact that I break off mid-sentence to shriek up the stairs “Will you get back into bed NOW, whadoyoothinkyooodoing?” at Thomas, it wasn’t too bad at all.
The reading that is.
The general presentation is another thing altogether. I have discovered a whole load of nervous tics that I am now really hoping haven’t been commented on by judges and magistrates all over London for the last decade. Surely someone would have mentioned the fact that I blink a lot when reading out loud? Or that I shift my weight from foot to foot every 3 seconds? And I am really sure that someone would have given me a gentle nudge about the mouth-twisting thing. Or the nail-picking. And even if all that was overlooked, surely, surely someone would have poked me in the back and hissed “do you know you are standing on one leg while addressing the jury?”
So now I have a whole load more to worry about than I did before I did this exercise.
That worked out well.