Tuesday, 4 December 2007


There are two very different options for me when I step outside my front door. 

If I turn left I end up on a high street where . . . 
A loaf of extremely hard, do-good bread costs just under a fiver
The boutique calls out, Siren-like, with dresses that cost more than my entire wardrobe
The bookshop is independent and does a roaring trade
70% of the shoppers have joined the War Against Plastic Bags, and wield their organic hemp versions with pride
Scrubbed-faced, beautiful women, dressed in their finest shabby-chic, call out to children named Hetty and Georgie and Connie and Orlando
The local park is like the set of I'm A Celebrity, minus the witchetty grubs

If I turn right, I end up on a high street where . . . 
Breakfast costs £2.95 and almost certainly involves tinned tomatoes
Hair flies at Primark as they fight over £6 jeans
There is a lot of stuff for sale outside shops, in big buckets, like Imperial Leather soaps (packs of 3 for £1), enormous jars of Nescafe, and lurid beach towels.
You might see two very drunk men try to help another very drunk man do a wee in the street. At 9am.

I am halfway between these two high streets in every sense. Turning left means I have the right kind of pushchair (Phil n Ted... a.k.a. Arm n Leg) but the wrong kind of boots (Primark! £8!!). Turning right means holding onto my bag a bit tighter after dark, being aware that I might sound like a bit of a posh twat, but also not having to self-flagellate in Sainsburys for forgetting my damn organic hemp shopping bag, again.

I have the same feeling with my writing - unwilling, or unable, to commit to a single genre or even age group. I can't stick to one because I haven't worked out where I belong. 

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Ross said...

Give me a £2.95 full english with a window seat where I can watch the drunks please.
Surely it's more important to have a style rather than try to cram yourself into a genre. People, publishers and booksellers are going to pigeon-hole you regardless. Look at Kurt Vonnegut - he wrote two vaguely science fiction novels early in his career and was shelved there forever.
Just be your wonderful lovely self and everything else will follow.

Mum'sTheWord said...

I'll join you for that full English and just face away from the window, I think :) Thanks, Ross.

mockling said...

Hmm, To my left is Rottweillers and dogpoo. To my right is the shop where the intimidating ten-year-olds hang out with things to throw to try and knock me off my bike. I think I'll chose the ten year olds because their bite isn't as big.

I agree with Ross, be yourself. Don't try and work out what that is. Just do your thing. If it's any consolation, I've never fitted in either. :)

Claire said...

Whatever genre, it works.
This blog would make a cracking book in itself.

Mum'sTheWord said...

Thanks, Rosy and Claire.

Hmm, I think I am more afraid of ten-year-olds than Rottweillers. And yet ten-year-olds are almost never kept on a leash.