I don’t remember too much about my first year of school. I remember Wayne, my friend (who I saw the other night incidentally, which was good). I remember coats as capes attached to heads by hoods. I remember the headmaster telling us all a fable in assembly, about an old, dying woman. She had a box of money under her bed and, while she lay sleeping at night, her daughters would come in, one by one, to take just a little. There’d always be more, they thought, no one would know. First it was for something inexpensive – bread or something like that. And it escalated until, sure enough, there was nothing left but an empty, old box. I remember show and tell with my dinosaur book and laughing when someone thought extinct meant smelly.
I remember, one morning, getting ready. I remember being in my parent’s room and my mum buttoning my shirt and my dad tying my tie around my neck. I remember him driving me to school (which was unusual) and I remember, when we got there, that it was closed. It must have been an inset day or bank holiday or something. And I remember being distraught because I’d put people out. Because someone had done something for me and they’d wasted their time. I was upset. I was really upset. I was probably the most upset I could remember being in those first four or five years here. I knew it wasn’t my fault but it was still because of me.
Since then I’ve tried, as best as I can, to not ask people for things (although that’s not going to stop me when I might need help getting the word out about my next book). I still don’t like putting people out. It makes me uncomfortable and that’s why, when I can, I do things by myself. And I’m proud of that. Really proud. I’ve managed to do quite a bit actually.
And I’m not sure what the point of this post is. Maybe it’s my way of preparing you for the possibility of asking for help with the next book. (If anyone would like to help then do give me a shout.) Maybe it’s because I’ve just finished reading Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years (which is brilliant and illuminating and funny – and makes me happier that I’m not perfect and a bit of a clueless mess at times) and that’s got me wondering about confessional writing or memoire or something.
Or maybe I just wanted to give you a bit of me. I guess things can get a bit boring when they’re just about books.