Advice To a Curmdgeonly Middle-Aged Writer

“You are old, Mister Timms,” the young writer said. “Why, aren’t you closing in on 45? Surely you shouldn’t be still standing on your head. Surely you should have both feet firmly planted in the publishing world.”

“In my youth,” Mister Timms replied, “I feared.”

“Feared what?”

“Everything. Nothing. And I suppose, I’ll do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the young writer, “as I mentioned before. And you’ve grown most uncommonly fat with words, with reading, with keeping notebooks. Don’t you want to slim down and get a book deal?”

“In my youth,” said the sage-smelling Mister Timms, as he stroked his shaved head, “I kept my imagination very supple by the use of daydreaming — one shilling the box. Allow me to sell you some.”

“You are old,” said the young writer, “and your jaws are too weak for saying the same thing to yourself over and over. Still, you’re close to finishing your book now, which has promise and a beak. Pray, how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said Mister Timms, “I took to literature from a young age and argued with every single writer I loved. And the muscular strength which it gave to me has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the young writer, “one would hardly suppose you could even carry on a steady Twitter, Facebook page, or blog. Yet you have balanced a whole book on the end of your nose. What made you so awfully cheerful?”

“I have answered these questions and that is enough!” said Mister Timms. “Don’t give yourself airs. Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff? Be off, or I’ll kick you down the stairs!”


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