As a writer, I’m someone you’d be well advised to avoid at all cost. Someone you’d be even better advised never to date. And someone you’d be absolutely CRAZY to marry. (You can’t anyway, unless you’re into bigamy.)
Okay, but first things first. Here are some objective reasons why you should think twice before getting too close to a writer.
- Everything and everyone in their world is a potential future story to be exploited.
- If YOU are in their world, that means that YOU could be the next victim.
- Their writing is their God, make no bones about it. It is their Holy Art. They worship it. They bow down to it. They light candles to it.
- In view of the above, they will be prepared to sacrifice anything, and I mean ANYTHING, for the sake of their Holy Art. That could be your mental well-being we’re talking about.
- They’ll wangle their way out of any future libel cases by including the standard “all persons fictitious” disclaimer in their book, pretending that they had absolutely NO intention of defaming you, because there was absolutely NO WAY the mean bastard in their latest novel was actually based on you!
- They’ll constantly be making mental notes of things you’ve said, interrupting the flow of what was supposed to be a lovely evening. Sometimes they’ll make real notes too, flicking open their little notebook to scribble something down mid-conversation and pretending they’d suddenly remembered to add broccoli to the shopping list.
- Writers don’t eat broccoli. But they do lie. Make sure to be on red alert for their lies AT ALL TIMES.
- When they tell you that the brightness that shines from your eyes reminds them of stars on a winter’s night, it’s another lie. They’re merely rehearsing the wording for another slushy section in their novel.
- If you dare mention the word ‘slushy’ about their writing, they will sulk for the rest of the evening. Or week. A sulking writer is not good. You will be demonised in their next book. Not in a glamorous way that you can secretly be proud of, but in an icky, soul-destroying way that will make you cringe.
If, on the other hand, you are lucky enough to be portrayed in their novel in a flattering light, then you can ignore all the above points and instead rest in the happy knowledge that you will never be forgotten. You will go down in the annals of history. Who cares if in the meantime you and the writer happen to break up? Immortality is far more important than the fleeting joys of being friends/lover/spouse of a writer, isn’t it?
Okay, now for some concrete examples of my own. The following is a kind of writer’s confession – a list of unsuspecting victims who have passed through my life, innocuously or otherwise, totally unaware that they would one day be ensnared by the dangerous pen of Wendy Skorupski.
So here they are:
- A very attractive nun I had a crush on in my Catholic school sixth-form days. She had dark eyes that shone like stars on a winter’s night. I don’t know where she now dwells, but I do know that she is forever trapped in my first juvenile novel: The Conflict.
- My mother (now in the Great Hereafter), who will forever be remembered by wearing black to her beloved daughter’s wedding. How could you DO it? became my mantra for the next few years. Decades. But never mind, her love and erratic deeds are now stored for eternity in my blockbuster: For Some We Loved.
- My father (ditto about the Hereafter), who will forever be remembered for his esoteric Polish past and his love of Art photography. Which means lots and lots of snapshots of topless women. Including his daughter. But never mind, he is immortalised in The Lives of Marek Felinski.
- A drop-dead gorgeous Benedictine monk who was the first man to steal my heart. I keep meaning to send him a signed copy of For Some We Loved, in which he plays the smouldering male lead. The only reason I haven’t yet done so is because I’m worried that I might end up having to take on the entire Benedictine monastery in legal battle. Maybe even the entire Catholic church. But never mind, at least Pope Francis seems like a nice chappie. I’m sure he’d enjoy my novel, before banning it.
Okay, so who else…? Ah, yes …
- The two hoodlums who attacked me at knife point on my first weekend of being a student.
- The two policemen who zoomed round to my Hall of Residence after the incident, interviewed me, aimed twinkly smiles at me, and invited me to a party. I accepted their invitation, being a sucker for twinkly smiles, and ended up dating the sexier of the two.
- A fellow music student who I dated next, until his double bass came between us. He always put the wretched thing first, preferring its hulking curves and deep voice to mine, until in the end I could take no more of the competition and moved on to the next boyfriend.
- The next boyfriend, who had a penchant for sexy lingerie. And I mean SEXY.
- The boyfriend after that, who had a penchant for kinky games – especially when beholding aforementioned sexy lingerie.
- A fellow pianist who was soon promoted to the position of lover, fiancé, and finally, Hubby Number One.
- An Irish philosopher with eyes like stars on a winter’s night, who was later promoted to the position of Hubby Number Two.
- A dashing American who crossed my path between Hubby Number One and Number Two, and almost put an end to further developments with the Irish Philosopher.
I’m getting a bit lost here … there were so many characters … so many friends and lovers and others who I sneakily borrowed and moulded and coerced into doing and saying extraordinary things, unbeknownst to the lot of them … but what the hell? As Naomi Lieberman says in my latest novel: He who knows not knows not that he knows not.
Ah, yes, here are some more:
- The weird primary teacher with Himmler-type glasses and a chilly smile that used to scare the kids in his class as well as the mothers, and who metamorphosed into a psychopathic killer in Man of Baser Earth.
- The grumpy guy who owned a small photocopying shop in a Krakow basement. He photocopied loads of my diaries for me, and to this day hasn’t got a clue that such an apparently banal task was the inspiration behind The Diary Keeper, with him in the romantic lead. Pity he never met his gorgeous co-protagonist in real life.
- Several friends, family members and colleagues at work, most of whom haven’t got the faintest idea that they were borrowed for the Greater Good of my novels. But one day they’ll know. Oh yes, they’ll know.
In the meantime, my upcoming novel, Once Upon a Thousand Hills, will be published very shortly. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is as yet oblivious to the fact that he has a cameo role in it. But he’ll find out, soon enough. And as it’s a nice cameo role, I shouldn’t worry about all those assassins his critics accuse him of employing.
You’ll all find out, soon enough. All those of you who feature on my confessional list, and many others who I haven’t included. And if you don’t like what you read, then there’s only one way to guard the sanctity of your privacy from now on:
AVOID WRITERS AT ALL COST!