I am a duck, I swim

Where the author compares himself to a duck, for the purposes of procrastination and distraction. Quack. And indeed, quackers.

It’s not often I make F snort yogurt out of her nose and convulse with laughter – well, except when I am attempting to explain the creative process or why I can’t finish the novel this week because I’m (a) washing my hair; (b) admiring the onion monster in the garden; (c) thinking up ways in which thinking about writing is like having your own Judaean People’s Front Committee meetings going on in your head, constantly; or (d) ooh look, an ickle kitten – but I managed it this week.  And all because I said, in all seriousness, ‘I am a duck, I swim.’ You see, what I meant was when placed into an unfamiliar environment (well, office, I don’t think this applies to Peckham, Mons Australis or Port Eynon) I have a tendency to cope with things, and worry about it after.  But I wanted to convey some sense of effortlessness, or perhaps natural aptitude.  Therefore ‘I am a duck, I swim’.  All right?  Stop sniggering.

More accurately, I should have said, ‘if I am a duck, I will swim.  And quack, and quite probably be best friends with a goose that lays golden friends.‘  It comes from a lifetime of self-consciously not fitting in.  And precisely because I am self-conscious, I end up in some kind of existential nightmare where I take on the tropes and mores of whatever situation I’m in.  Hence my bill, feathers, sticky-out tummy and strange quacking noise when I waddle to and from the biscuit cupboard.  Or to put it another way, the reason I don’t speak to people at parties (ha! as if I go to parties) is because I start speaking like others, talking like others, and in certain Mayfair parties, quacking like others.

Which explains why my continued attendance at copy-editing classes is turning me into an idiot-pedant.  And, while my writing is generally becoming more clear and better punctuated, having not yet reached the profreading section of the course, I am still baking masic mistakes.  Which is my (e)th excuse for Really Not Getting On With Things – RNGOWT for snappy Python-esque discourse – I don’t trust myself yet not to call Paulo Paolo and Giulio, erm, well, he’s always called Giulio.  Except when it’s Gio.

But you know what?  I’m a duck, I swim.  And I don’t care who knows it.  (And with one less excuse not to finish the novel,  from now on I will try and pay more attention to the excellent advice in this Cory Doctorow article).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *