Monday, July 10, 2006

The Horrible Truth

Today The Bitch discovered she had lost her building-society pass book and was obliged to sit in the Building Society giving all her personal details once again while they sorted her out.

'What is your job?' the counter clerk asked me (or counter services operative, or whatever they call them nowadays). 'Writer,' I replied, feeling as always slightly foolish. (I mean, I don't earn millions, I don't get invited to the fashion shows, my name's not Zadie, or Dan or Joanna, for God's sake.)

She looked thrilled. 'Oh, I love reading!' she exclaimed. 'But I don't like anything serious. I love to read to escape. I love magic. I love Harry Potter.'

I do not write books like Harry Potter. I kept the matey, conspiratorial grin plastered to my face.

'My husband loves reading too', she went on. 'But serious stuff which I can't stand.'

Thank God for people like her husband, I thought.

'You know,' she said: 'thriller-type things with gangsters and all in them.'

I think my smile froze. I do not write books with gangsters in them.

But worse, I was thinking: can these market-mad publishers be right?
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