Lots of people think their life is boring. I used to think my life was boring – not in terms of day-t0-day conversation but in terms of material for writing. I used to think I’d have to dream up some exciting life-events in order to write a memoir or transform my experience into fiction, otherwise it’d just be dull. So I’d try to beef things up a bit; make everything more exciting: turn a mild accident into a life-threatening condition; a birth into a near-miscarriage or a kitchen mishap into a complete disaster. To some extent this is what writers do; they heighten experience and make it more dramatic: but lately I’m starting to re-evaluate my thinking here. Because when Thingy – the husband who cannot be named – started his whole gender-thing, as well as all the problems and hassles it gave me, it also gave me something sensational to write about. For once I could write from experience about something eye-catching and dramatic; something unusual and exciting that had happened in my life. And so I did: I put it in my memoir and I wrote a couple of short stories – and I got the Mslexia blog residency.
So far so good. But I’m starting to question whether I really needed that sensational material – or whether what I really needed was the confidence to think that my life was actually interesting just as it was. Because I truly believe that all lives are interesting.
‘Pfft!’ you may think. ‘That’s all very well for a writer, but what if you work in a dead-end job, stacking shelves in a supermarket? What if you can’t afford to go out at night and your only entertainment is terrestrial TV?’
Well – I guess I’ve done my fair share of dead-end jobs. The worst one was working in the airport shops – not even the duty free ones, just the boring land-side ones, where arrogant businessmen and demanding models were my customers and I had to work twelve-hour shifts and stand for most of that time. It was horrid. At least if you work behind a bar or in a regular shop you get your regular customers and you can have a chat, but at Heathrow you hardly ever see the same person twice. Though we did have a rather flirty businessman who came through every week on his way to the States.
But I digress. The thing is, I’ve actually managed to make that job sound interesting because of the people I met and the things I saw. But say I was stacking shelves – well, I’ve never stacked shelves, so I don’t know for sure, but I guess you’d be working with people and you could talk to them and maybe talk to the customers and notice things around you like which products sell out faster than others. The trouble with being a drone is that nobody wants your opinion on anything – so I guess the good thing about being a writer is that you get to give your opinion on just about anything that passes through your mind.
This is turning out to be a very rambling post and i’m not sure that I’m reaching any conclusion. Somebody tell me what I mean, please!