I’m on Bloglovin’, so come love my blog

Follow my blog with Bloglovin. I had to post that link to prove to the Bloglovin’ robot overlords that this was indeed my blog. Well it is, thank you very much, good sir.

But, since the link says ‘Follow my blog on Bloglovin”, you might as well do that very thing. Here are some reasons why this is a good idea:

  1. It’s totally an easy way of keeping up to date with my posts. I think the people who followed my blog on WordPress were cast adrift when I transferred to a self-hosted site. I miss those people and often spend days staring out of the window waiting for them to return, like an 18th century fisherman’s wife staring at the horizon for signs of her husband returning. Or Keira Knightly at the end of the third Pirates of the Caribbean film.
  2. There is many a blogger on there just waiting to be discovered. If you’re the kind of person who likes quality blogs – and you totally are, because you’re here, obviously – you’ll find a veritable smorgasbord of written wonders. Just don’t abandon me entirely in favour of other people, or I will have to get vengeance on those superior bloggers. There have been television crime dramas with more ludicrous plots.
  3. It’ll do wonders for my self-esteem. I’d like to look at a number on a screen and know that it in some way correlates to my popularity. Having a number (I’ve only just got onto Bloglovin’, so even just 10 would be a good number to start with) on the screen that corresponds with the number of people who regularly want to keep in touch with whatever it is this blog is about will make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Like a camel who has just swallowed a pair of microwaveable slippers.
  4. There are other reasons. But I don’t want to give away all the goodies right now. No, sir. So instead, go to the car park of your nearest supermarket at 3am tomorrow. I shall send further instructions.

Farewell for now. See you on Bloglovin’.

I’m a writer, darling

Image Source: The Guardian.
Image Source: The Guardian.

I was out and about the other day when I bumped into a lady handing out flyers advertising the Penzance Literary Festival. She asked me whether I was interested in literature, which provided me with a slight problem. Obviously, as a writer, I am very interested. On the other hand, I didn’t want to have to tell her that I was a writer.

It’s not that I’m ashamed. It’s just… How exactly are you supposed to say without it sounding pretentious?

Festival Lady: Are you interested in literature?

Rewan: In fact, I’m a writer myself darling.

I might as well have just put on a big puffy shirt, stared past her into the middle distance, and stroked a rose carefully against my cheek. I don’t know what it is, but the phrase ‘I’m a writer’ just sounds a bit arrogant. Not Kanye West arrogant, but nothing comes close to that. Ironically, if Kanye had finished his Glastonbury set by declaring he was the most arrogant man in the world, he would have been entirely justified.

I think the problem I have is that anyone can be a writer. Maybe that’s why I got bored of telling people about it. Most people, at some point in their lives, have tried to write a novel. Usually what happens is that they spend several months declaring to anyone who will listen that they are going to write a novel, and spend a while collecting together various novel writing paraphernalia. (As much as I love Michael McIntyre, the opening of his autobiography where he discusses the fact that, knowing he had a book to write, he went out and bought himself an Apple Mac to write it on, did make me hate him a little).

Because we can all write, and we can all string words together in some form or another, the simple act of writing anything makes one a writer. There is a very low threshold of acceptance, which so far has only worked to keep out grizzly bears and some of the cast of TOWIE. Is not that I don’t think anybody should be able to have a go at writing. I’d just like there to be some kind of quality control.

So when I’m telling people I’m a writer, I feel as though I might as well be expressing some equally obvious fact, such as ‘I have legs’, or ‘My nose has never fallen off’. Writer is not quantifiable, in the same way as, say, Olympic gymnast. Just like anybody who went through the education system, I’ve been on a pommel horse and a trampoline, but that does not make me an Olympic gymnast. But if I own a pen, and have told somebody that I have vague intentions of writing a novel or a collection of short stories or an epic poem, what is there to say I am not a writer?

Perhaps we could do with some kind of ranking system like they have in martial arts? That way at least if people asked, it would be a lot easier to explain.

Festival Lady: Are you interested in literature?

Rewan: I am. In fact, I am a Yellow Belt at writing.

Festival Lady: Congratulations. How did that happen?

Rewan: I stabbed three ninjas to death with a fountain pen.

Festival Lady: I think your analogies are starting to bleed into one another.

I don’t get this way when talking to my business clients. Copywriting is very different. It is certainly not something you can just claim to do (not for very long anyway, when everybody realises you’re terrible at it). I got a business and everything, with cards that have my name on and stuff. And I have plenty of clients who will attest to the fact that I am, indeed, a copywriter.

But when it comes to fiction, it’s different. Other than carrying my published works around with me, there’s nothing to distinguish me from the person who sits on Facebook month after month giving updates about the novel instead of actually writing the damn thing.

I think the next time somebody asks me, I’ll just tell them I’m an Olympic gymnast. A Black Belt Olympic gymnast.

100th Post – Author photos, and why they’re not as easy as you think

It’s just your face, yet when a camera’s pointed at it, suddenly there’s a lot to think about.

First of all, I’d like to thank David Edmonds, who has done such an amazing job with these.

Rewan Tremethick Web 2

I had been watching the total number of posts creep towards this important mark. It has repeatedly crossed my mind that I should do something special, but what that could have been, I had no idea. Luckily, coincidence decided it for me. It happened that I found out I was going to get published just in time to get an author photo shoot done and the final images back to me ready for this blog’s 100th post.

Thinking about your face

I am, by and large, accustomed to my face. Whenever I look, it’s still at the front of my head where I left it. We had a period during my teenage years where we didn’t really get on, but who doesn’t?

The thing is, while I don’t spend most of the time with the urge to hide my face away in a bag, getting your photograph taken does make you take a good long look at yourself. Knowing that you’ll get a likeness of yourself at 36 megapixels is enough to make anyone bite their lip and wonder whether people really need to know that you have a face.

RewanWeb-13

It’s remarkable how intimidating a camera lens actually is. It’s more intense than a person’s stare, that big shiny black circle that glares at you across the room. You find yourself getting drawn into a game with it, trying not to blink before it does. There almost seems to be a challenge inside that lens; ‘Do you really want me to capture this forever?’ I think if I got two and put them side by side, that’d be as close to staring into the face of pure evil as it’s possible for a human to get, unless you’ve met [name of a celebrity you hate]. Yeah, we just did a joke. We’re a team now. High five.

‘Was that there before?’

RewanWeb-19It doesn’t matter how comfortable with your face you are, when you know people are going to be able to look at it in extreme detail, you do tend to review a few things. It’s worse than meeting someone in person, as we all maintain eye contact most of the time. There may be the occasional cursory sweep conducted, where you pick up on a few key details (wrinkled eyes/reddish cheeks/horns), but most of the time we look each other in the eye.

With a photo, well, you can study whatever you want to. You can get a ruler out and measure to make sure both my eyes are the same size, which they probably aren’t. You could deconstruct my entire countenance, read a thousand meanings into the shape of my mouth, the line of my jaw, the angle of my brow. You probably won’t, because there’s not much fun to be had in it, and I’m too young to be any of the dead celebrities, who are rumoured to still be alive, with a new face, so there’s no great mystery to uncover.

Achieving just the right level of narcissism

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There’s a slight paradox when it comes to portraits like this, which is that people want you to look nice, but don’t want you to be visibly making an effort to look nice. You have to pose for a photo; that’s how photos are taken. Every arrangement of limbs and facial features is a pose. If you wanted a pose free person, you’d have to blend them first.

So the eternal problem of the photo shoot is that my main objective is to look good. That’s why there aren’t any photos of me facing the wrong way, tripping over a stick, or with soup all over my face. But at the same time, I don’t want to be trying too hard. Only celebrities (i.e. people whom we want to look as nice as possible) are allowed to be obviously trying hard to look their best. Not that I’d want to have been lying on the bonnet (hood, for my American friends) of a Ferrari, but still, if I’m trying too hard, people will say, ‘Look at him, posing like he’s a celebrity. What an arse.’

Pretty much the same as writing really

I have to send my face out into the world. Obviously, it’s been out before, and my Facebook page and the like already have plenty of pictures on them. But these are different. These are meant to say, ‘Well, this is me’. They are meant to help people make an opinion. I can’t control what that opinion is.

Which makes it much the same as writing. I know what I want people to think when they read my writing, but I can’t ensure that they do. Everyone’s free to make their own minds up.

Why can’t there be a thing that allows people to see what they want, not what’s actually there?

Oh wait, there is. It’s called beer.

There are some more photos from this shoot on my Author Facebook Page. Click on the link to go there and check them out. While you’re there, why not like my page?


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The content of this post  is copyright © Rewan Tremethick 2013.