For me the desire to start writing was more a quest to see my own thoughts in print rather than any hope of making an impression on the literary world. I had always been interested in comedy and I wanted to establish whether there were others who shared my skewed view of life. Responding to the suggestion of a friend who I shall call John, I agreed to list a number of original quips that had always made people smile or laugh politely.
I remember getting stuck at number 9. You see John wanted me to write a line for every day of the year. Problem number one, my repertoire was soon exhausted, now what? I had to think, which meant using part of my brain that had been under utilized since preparing the few humorous lines of my wedding speech, many years before.
Delving into my untapped reserves of sarcasm, I surprised myself and came out with more material. After the first few weeks and about thirty very odd lines later, I noticed to my horror that a character was beginning to emerge who because of his unfortunate demeanour bore an uncanny resemblance to me. Was this outpouring of frustration by a deeply troubled individual just a therapeutic response to a life filled with disappointment or did it have any broader potential? That was my second mistake, thinking about the commercial value of what I was writing. You see, I wasn’t yet completely deluded into thinking that I could give up my day job and support my family from my chosen pursuit. It would still be some years until I could rid myself of that burden.
A few months later and a holiday with my beloved notebook by my side, I managed to achieve two things, first the requisite number of lines but more ominously a barrage of not unfair criticism that ours had become a single parent family. I only did what John had asked, a line for every day. How was I to know that it often took all day? Problem number three, I had become obsessed with the next line. I had caught the bug.
Was there a cure you might ask or was I destined to spend the rest of my life scraping my creative barrel for inspiration?