Jonathan Meres: About 500 words

Those lovely people at The Hay Festival have kindly asked if I’d like to write a guest blog post for them.  Well I say lovely.  I’m assuming they’re lovely.  It’s a bit of a sweeping generalisation but booky types do tend to be lovely, although there are obvious exceptions.  Anyway – those (on the whole) lovely people at The Hay Festival have kindly asked if I’d like to write a guest blog post for them.  I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  Well I mean I did.  But only long enough for me to get in touch with Rebecca – my publicity person of no specific gender – and ask what it should be about?  “About 500 words,” she quipped merrily.  How we laughed.   Once we’d finished laughing I said no but seriously – what should it be about?  Should it be something to do with Hay itself, or perhaps Norm? (As in The World of Norm – the series of books that I write.)  Why not a bit of both? replied Rebecca.  Sounded reasonable.   Still does.  Anyway – long story ever so slightly shorter – it kind of helped, but didn’t help if you know what I mean?  I mean it helped narrow it down a bit.  Well, a lot actually.  I now knew I couldn’t just pick any old random subject.  I knew I at least had to mention Hay and Norm at some point.  This was a good thing.  It was a start. But only a start.  I did what I usually do when I know I have to sit down and write something.  I got up and put a wash on.  Then I put the kettle on.  Then I did some staring out the window.  I’ve just made a pond.  (A real pond – not one of those instant ‘just add water’ jobs.)  Anyway it’s right in my eye line as I look out my office and write this sentence.  I’m really pleased with it.  The pond, I mean – not that sentence.   As sentences go, it was okay, but certainly nothing exceptional.  It was functional.  It served a purpose.  I’ve written better.  Anyway staring at the pond wasn’t working.  I still couldn’t think what to write.  So I did the next thing on my list of ‘Things to do when I can’t think what to write.’  I went for a run.  I don’t know what it is about running.  I’m not particularly good at it.  I’m not very fast.  I frequently ache afterwards.  But it seems to do me a power of good.  Mentally at least.  Whatever it is, it worked.  No sooner had I set off than ideas started to flow, like…like…flowy things.  The blog post which at least had to mention The Hay Festival and The World Of Norm: May Cause Irritation (available at all good bookshops) was beginning to take shape.  And what shape was that? I hear you ask.  Roughly this shape.  Well, precisely this shape as it happens.  And the best part?  It’s exactly five hundred words.  Sorted.

Catch Jonathan at the festival on Saturday 9  June, 1pm.

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