Hello, dragon fans. You find us this week in the midst of change. A few days ago, I observed the author standing at the door of his room, frowning. This can be a worrying sign. Frown lines tend to suggest he's thinking. And that's not always good. This time, however, he did have a legitimate excuse. "Have you noticed," he asked, as I landed on his shoulder and used the tip of my pencil to dig out a bit of his ear wax, "that the floor of this room slopes?" I slapped a paw across my eye ridges in despair. "You mean, you've only just noticed?" I replied. I leaned over and picked up a plastic golf ball he keeps in a pen tidy on his desk. I dropped it at his feet and we watched it roll towards the far end of the room and disappear under one of his guitar stands. "You've been typing at an angle ever since we moved in," I told him. "Ah, so that's why I keep falling off my chair!" he exclaimed with a little breath of triumph. Honestly, dragon fans, what can you do?
Anyway, the upshot of this great discovery was that he called in Kevin, the local handyman, to level the floor. This meant clearing the room, of course, which gave us the opportunity of measuring just how much rammel (an olde Englishe worde for junke, clutter, rubbishe) he kept in there. "Is this sock entirely necessary?" Mrs Author enquired, finding one wedged between a pile of his papers. She pushed a finger through a hole in the toes and wiggled it. "You can't have that. That's what I clean the screen with," he replied, as if EVERYONE in the IT arena uses a dusty old sock to, well, dust their monitor. (I checked with Gwendolen; she just burns the dust off.) Anyway, this led to us putting together a puzzling list of some other 'bits and bobs' a writer keeps on his desk and simply can't do without, e.g.
A paper clip that's been pulled out of shape.
Use: to wiggle biscuit crumbs out from between the keys of his keyboard. (I know, why doesn't he just turn the keyboard upside down and shake it?)
A slip of paper with some complex dates and figures on it.
Use: a weekly measure of how much electricity is being used by the computer (Uh???)
A small pencil with no lead in the end.
Use: to balance across the edge of the desk when bored or stuck with writer's block. The pencil is minutely pushed towards its tipping point, the idea being to guess the final position before one more push sends it over the edge. The pencil can then be picked up and the game repeated as often as necessary or until the player's brain turns to slush or a kindly writing dragon scribbles an inspirational note on his notepad.
A flat glass paperweight.
Use: surely to weigh down paper? you ask. Wrong. A handy object on which to dispense the tea bag he's inevitably forgotten to remove from his mug...
A box that once contained a printer cartridge.
Use: a back up dumping ground for the teabag, just in case he's forgotten to take the one on the paperweight to the waste bin downstairs when he makes his next cup of tea...
An A5 sized diary.
Use: has to be a diary, doesn't it? No. Every year, he buys one and uses only the calendar part at the front to keep track of his events. The rest of the diary is never used - unless a fly gets in the room. Then it becomes a handy swatting device.
A bundle of shells in a string bag.
Use: no one really knows...
A felt-tipped pen with hardly any ink in it.
Use: as a felt-tipped pen - with hardly any ink in it! He won't throw it because he feels there's surely 'one more go' in it after every time he struggles to use it...
And our favourite - a letter opener in the shape of a dagger.
Use: no use whatsoever as the idiot always forgets to open his fan mail with it, often ripping through the addresses that American fans write in the top left corner of their envelopes. Still, it looks 'professional', he thinks, like he's won a prize for a crime novel!
Youthful writers of the world, now you know what you have to look forward to... Until next time. Happy reading. Hrrr!