One of the features of this very blog that I find equally fascinating and nauseating are the visitor stats. I can see how many people have been reading and where they are in the world; this is the part I find fascinating. The nauseating part comes in when I get to see exactly which pages and blog posts they have clicked on and realise, with a gut-twisting shock, that they have been reading my archive. I have the urge to hunt them down, stand in front of their computer screens and wave my hands around shouting, “No, no! This is old, this is not my best work! I’M SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!”
A perfectly natural response, I think you’ll agree. We all want to showcase our very best work, after all, and, no matter how pressed for time we are, this fact remains true.
It did, however, come and bite me on the ass this week.
I am currently writing to a deadline; book 2 is due with my editor in a few days. I also have a day job, a blog and two children to contend with. None of this is a problem, it is life carrying on at its normal life-paced pace.
Then, at the weekend, I was hit by a sudden desire to eat chocolate brownies. Chocolate peanut butter brownies, to be precise. These bad-boys right here.
Now, my grandmother in Germany has some very good advice for anyone who loves to bake and it is this: don’t do it unless you have the time to give it the respect it is due. If you rush, she says, you can taste the difference in the bake. She is right, of course. A 93-year-old who has lived through all she has lived through is rarely wrong. So why, pray tell, did I not take heed?
I’ll just knock up a quick batch, I said to myself. It’ll be FINE.
It would have been, too, had I not decided, in a moment of gross hubris, to share my speedily knocked together offering with two rather important people. It turned out to be more of a cake than a brownie. A somewhat overbaked cake, at that.
To make matters worse, I took said brownie/cake monstrosity to Ian’s house and put it in the fridge for later. We went to lunch and what did the kind chef at the café do?
What did he do?
Gave us a free brownie at the end of our meal, that’s what.
What a total bastard.
The brownie was perfect. I can’t fault it. It was bloody gorgeous, and I will forever hate that chef as a result because, as I sat down later to eat my own pile of dry, brown crumbs that I tried to pretend was delicious, all I could think of was that brownie. And how my brownie could have been JUST LIKE THAT had I given it the time and respect it deserved. I could have even out-brownied that chef.
And because I am totally sane, not at all neurotic and certainly not competitive (heaven forefend!) I will NOT be staying up for an extra hour tonight to prove to myself that I can indeed bake the perfect brownie.
No, I won’t.
I really, really, really won’t.
See? Writers are the archetypes of level-headed serenity.
Never Go There is available to order now from Amazon.