It’s a great moment. Isn’t it a great moment? You know the moment I mean. The moment when the small boy points at the Emperor and says, ‘But mother, the Emperor isn’t wearing anything at all.’
Well, if you’ve ever wanted to play that role, now is your chance.
Because, thanks to that fine writer Justin Bogdanovitch, I am forced to reveal just how much of a newbie I really am at this novelising game. He was right to call it ‘vengeance’ when he tagged me with the Lucky 7 meme.
The truth is I don’t have a page 77 of anything. I barely have a page seven.
The situation is particularly dire at the moment as I am writing poetry for an assignment and my poems don’t tend to length. I mean, they’re not haikus, but they’re pretty spare.
I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words in my life. I’ve done journalism and copywriting. I’ve written one screenplay (rated U: unsuitable), a stage play (also U – scenes inducing mild headache) and lots of chapters of novels – beginnings, middles, ends – in all sorts of orders and voices.
What follows is, therefore, something I wrote a while back. It’s a short story called Please Turn Over. I thought of it immediately because it starts on page five. Phew. Here are the prescribed seven lines.
Mum’s saying she would of ordered the invites, like, last month, but Dad is too tight to pay for the ones with double satin bow and diamante heart and she’s not having whole Karachi saying she’s cheap.
Dad says whole Karachi can pay bill then and mum opens her mouth to go, like, mad or whatever.
And that’s when I start to tell them that the college is near, I could take the bus, or walk –
Mum says, eyes to sky, married doesn’t go college.
I look at Dad, but he is closed to me, like he’s in cardboard box, wrapped and taped. He don’t say it no more, don’t say nothing to me, but I hear it. Think of the family. Think of the shame.
Please note, all the deviations from standard grammar are intended. Honest. You have to leave me my syntatical thong, a last string of dignity.
Or I’m not playing.
Here are seven other luckless bloggers who I’m putting on the spot. Darlings, get your tombstone-like manuscripts out. Turn to page 77 (or seven), find the seventh line and print out the seven following lines. No cheating. And if your oeuvre is more strip than strapping – own up.
Come on! Don’t be shy. It’s rather nice feeling the air.