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).