Take a seat Mo Fanning

Writing tips by Mo Fanning

Writing tips by Mo FanningIt finally happened to me this month. The moment I’d been dreading – and I should be honest and say I didn’t deal with it particularly well.

I’d finished work for the day, left the office, shuffled round a supermarket mumbling to myself about the prices and lack of choice in Amsterdam stores before joining the snaking queue to pay. With rain in the air, I decided to take a tram home and as luck would have it, a number four appeared. It was crowded, but the joy of this line is that it stops just two minutes from my front door. I boarded, pushing through the crowds and found a spot to stand.

I became aware of a youngish bloke staring at me. When I say youngish, he was about twenty. Something told me he wasn’t sizing me up for potential husband material. Indeed this was confirmed shortly after.Photo of crow

It all happened so quickly and yet seemed to move in slow motion. He stood, still staring at me and already I knew what was next. Deep inside I screamed at him to just sit back down, back away and nobody need get hurt. He touched my arm – in the way you do when you’re trying to get the attention of old people – and offered his seat. I was mortified and have to say I handled it with extremely bad grace.

‘I’m ok standing, I don’t need to sit down,’ I spat. Clearly I said this louder than I intended as people turned to stare. I was wearing an iPod Shuffle, surely that told them all I was still young and ‘with it’. He looked shocked and apologetic, but could hardly take back the offer, so he came and stood right next to me, studiously looking the other way while I fumed.

I would have loved the seat, don’t get me wrong, but there was a principal at stake here. Someone else saw their chance and grabbed the place, allowing me to dole out acid-fuelled stares for the rest of the journey home.

Is this what I’ve come to? I need to have something published soon to stop me becoming even more of a hateful old man.

Other news this month involves birds. Crows to be more specific. Our back garden has become home to a family of nesting crows who party all night and take heed of the old proverb about getting the worm if they’re first out of the nest. Our back garden is also home to a number of prowling neighbourhood cats. Mix the two and you get noise, pure and simple.

Cats fight, cats try to invade nest of crows, crows are most vicious birds I’ve ever seen, crows attack, crows squawk from dawn to dusk and then some. Mo is woken up and gets extraordinary grumpy – more so than normal. Current novel suffers major setbacks due to sleep depravation. Do these birds not even understand that they are also depriving the public of a great work of fiction? Philistines.

My only other regret this month is allowing myself to get sucked back into Big Brother. After avoiding it for almost  five years (I watched the first few series), I’ve given in and watched more than the odd show this year. each morning I fire up my browser to see what Charley, Ziggy and Carole are up to – usually nothing much, apart from arguing about hair straighteners and milk.

I’m trying to argue that it is great character research for my writing. I’m lying.

Enjoy the month, may the sun shine where you are and may all your doughnuts turn out like Fanny’s.

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