The existential agony of the trade. By Jan Needle

I'm going to assume, for the sake of argument, that everyone else is as knackered as I am after Christmas. I didn't get much of a break, because I had some urgent writing jobs to finish (damn you, Buster Crabb!), some very large plates of Christmas pudden to consume (damn you, Father Christmouse), and the most appalling chest, throat and nose and ears infection which I assumed was terminal and everybody else cruelly categorised as man flu. (Damn the lot of you; it's a pity I didn't die. That [might] have wiped the smiles off...)

Any road up, here I am, just out of me sick bed, struggling manfully to carry on, and worrying about me tax return. Does nobody care about me?

Jan Stoker
Funny you should say that, because maybe someone does. Or then again, maybe not. You be the judge.

It was Wilf, possibly the most eccentric of my many eccentric sons, who is studying in Glasgow, but claimed to have got me the most original Christmas present of all time. What's more, he even managed not to forget it (thank you, Lucy) when he came down to civilisation for a while.

Go on then, sez I. Was ist? (I may be ill, but I can still show off).

'It's a gallery of famous writers,' he said. Or maybe smirked, it's hard to tell when you're suffering. 'The ones you introduced me to as among your favourites. Except the first one, bien sur. He's no one's favourite. Because it's you.'

He's a charming chap. I sometimes wonder where he gets it from. Answers on a postcard, please.

Go on then, sez I. My breath is bated.


Vlad the Impala
No, bated, ignoramus. Look it up upon your googley fone thingie. My breath is bated. Make with the goodies.

It was four pictures. In the style one might call naive. Or maybe prehistoric. Apparently a man called Sean Ryan does them, apparently on demand if you cross his palm with enough silver. I asked Wilf how much silver that actually was, but he said they were beyond price. And anyway, not to be so effin rude. In some ways, he was right. Ryan, incidentally, bills himself as 'artist, slacker, pizza fan.' Can anyone say fairer?

So here they are. The men he claims I told him were my top scribblers. And me.  There will be a small cash prize to the one who names them all correctly. A very small cash prize, which will not, sadly, cover the postage of the claimant's letter.

I like them. They grew on me. And one day, Wilf assures me, they will be worth a lorra, lorra money.
William Shakespeare (no relation)
But then again, that's what he told me when I had to buy him endless packs of Pokemon cards as I dragged him home from school each evening. They're still piled in his old bedroom, waiting for the market to peak.

The other kids got me presents, too; some weird, all wunnerful. Ain't chillern just the job? They almost make life live worthing..

So maybe I'll summon up the energy to fight off this dire infection after all.

If some bugger will only bring me up a cup of tea!

Lolita's dad

Here's the link for Sean Ryan. Well worth a click. Who knows, someone might want to make you famous, too...

Incidentally, the magazine of the International Thriller Writers Association - The Big Thrill - have done a splendid interview with me about The Bonus Boys in this month's mag. Sadly, because of my inefficiency (blame the man flu!) the book won't be out for a couple of weeks. Ah me.

But here's the link: 


Mari Biella said…
Made me laugh out loud, Jan. Nice present, though, and with a lovely personal touch - certainly beats the usual peppermint foot scrub and avocado shower gel. And who knows, they might be worth a bit of money one day!
Jan Needle said…
believe it or not, mari, no one's EVER given me foot scrub or shower gel. where have i gone wrong?
Bill Kirton said…
Hmmm. 'Existential agony.' That's exactly what I felt looking at Ryan's portrait of you, Jan. Great post, though. I'd like to hear more of these dealings with your offspring. Men of substance by the sound of it.
glitter noir said…
Terrific morning wake-up read, Jan. Thank you you for sharing your existential agony.
Susan Price said…
Made me laugh out loud, Bill.
Great post, Jan - do I still get a cash prize for correctly naming all the writers, even though their names are clearly captioned below them?
Jan Needle said…
Bloody ell, Sue! Do you want jam on it?
Lydia Bennet said…
Great fun, Jan, and a lovely present idea for the man who has everything, at least in terms of microbes.
Dennis Hamley said…
Great post, Jan. But I'm sure Kay could knock you up a portrait as good as that. You only have to ask.
Fran B said…
Made me smile - no, grin. Very much my sense of humour. Thanks for warming up a very cold, snowy day up here in the frozen north.
julia jones said…
Just got to this (February!!) Glad to think you are still in the world somewhere, Jan, grumping away to make the rest of us feel good. Not sure where I've been. See you ... one day. Meanwhile I'll cherish the pic. Well done Wilf

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