Toby Ash confesses to a secret crush…
For several years now I have posted quite regularly and have enjoyed participating in the wise, lively and good-natured banter that is daily Dabber life.
So I like to think I am part of The Dabbler community; that I am among friends. Right so far? I really hope so. Anyway, what do friends do? Well, they tell you their secrets. So, my Dabbler friends I am going to tell you one. It’s something that has been eating away inside me for some time and, until now, I have never found it appropriate to share it with anyone else.
Well, I’m not going to beat around the bush about it. I’m going to come straight out and say it. So here goes… I SECRETLY HEART AUTHORS. That’s it, I’ve said it now.
God I’m not feeling as relieved as I’d hoped. In fact, I have started to hyper ventilate. Anyway, no going back now. Let me explain.
There are writers out there who strike a special chord with me. They can be of either sex, but they write in a way – can be fiction or non-fiction – that just makes my heart melt a little. I don’t know what they look like or anything substantive about them, I only know that their writing talks to me in such a way that makes me love them a little. We’re not talking bibliographic porn here, more deep Byronic Platonic affection.
I got to thinking about this after I had an almost violent reaction to someone’s stinging, ill-thought out criticism of the author Tim Parks. Why should I care what they thought of him? Why did I leap to his defence with such vigour and passion? Why oh why did I take it all so personally? And then it dawned on me. I harboured deep – and until that moment unacknowledged – feelings towards this author. I was smitten with his written.
So what links all my booky nookie? Well, I‘ve been thinking about this. Let’s take Mr Parks. Well, it’s not his fiction. Sorry Tim, I know you’ve been shortlisted for the Booker but they are way too dark for me. Nope it’s his non-fiction and in particular the three charming books he wrote chronicling his life in Italy – Italian Neighbours, An Italian Education and A Season with Verona. The first two are about him setting up home in Italy with his wife and family. The last is about the season he spent going to every home and away fixture following his beloved football team Verona.
He brings a wonderful insight into Italy and its people. He’s inquisitive, clever, funny and his descriptions of seemingly mundane everyday things paint a compelling picture of his adopted country and its people. He is kind and generous about the people he meets, and although he exposes the darker side to Italian life, there is a real affection there. He doesn’t resort to cynicism or ridicule. He is interested in his surroundings and he has a zest for life.
That’s it isn’t it. It’s all about character. I have never understood the attraction of horribleness. The way you see the world and your generosity of spirit – these are what matter in a person. They are, of course, only part of a life-commitment package; looks, good hygiene and genital arrangement being pretty core too.
The more I think about this author love thing, the more questions it raises. Do authors get stalked by people driven crazy with desire after reading one of their books? I have little personal experience to bring to bear to this question. The worthy chapter of a book I once wrote (translated into Dutch) on the Palestinian economy had is plaudits, but there was no underwear in my post. Also, I wonder if authors actually consciously set out to get their readers to fall in love with them.
Anyway, I feel so much better now. I’m an out and proud author lover. Are you?