Paperback Writer!

Dear sir or madam will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look?

How’s that for a submission letter?

I went to see the Bootleg Beatles on Monday night and they were absolutely phenomenal! They covered the whole Beatles range from the Cavern Club to Abbey Road. In the middle they played  a blistering version of Paperback Writer, one of my favourites, and of course the words tied right in with my ongoing quest to finish my book. The line, “I want to be a paperback writer”, repeated over and over again captures the desire, the obsession even, to write, but where does that come from?

Of course, like a lot of Beatles songs there’s a bit of an edge here. There’s an implication that the writer in question isn’t too bothered what he writes, he just wants to be a writer. You get the feeling that Paul McCartney is making an observation about the pretensions of people in the trendy sixties scene, you can also see it in “Baby you can drive my car”. Which makes me question my own motivation. Am I doing this so I can show off?

Probably. I am a terrible show off, and  ‘I’m a writer’ is a much cooler answer to the question ‘What do you do?’ than ‘I’m a maths teacher’

But it’s not just that. The problem with having an artist for a father is that I grew up with a very skewed idea of what constitutes a ‘proper’ job. The options were basically: Artist, Musician, Writer. I’ve done all three.

On the other hand the fact that I’ve been writing this book for two years and four months and I have written over 75,000 words shows that at least I am sticking at it. There is a deeper motivation here than simply pretending to be ‘arty’. I don’t know where it comes from but I’ve always had the urge to create stuff. Picasso said that all children are artists, the problem is to remain one, and maybe that’s what I’ve done. I didn’t suddenly become creative, I just never stopped.

Maybe that’s the advantage of having an artist for a father.


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