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Friday, 18 November 2011

Is a slum really the answer? And how to become a famous author, speaker etc., in two shakes of a lamb's tail

I took the picture outside Bristol Cathedral, which I walk past pretty much every every day.

They show the camp set up by the people who are protesting against the excesses of capitalism – something I too feel pretty strongly about. They have stated that they want to create a slum there, and are doing a pretty good job.

When young, I used to protest against things like the atom bomb – I was lucky not to get arrested.

We used to march and hand in petitions to parliament. We couldn’t go and camp out because most of us worked for a living, but sadly the jobs many of these people would have if they could be bothered were stolen by Poles and other foreigners who are willing to work hard.

I am not sure a slum is the answer, but it can be very uncomfortable. At 10. 50 last night on my way back from work I saw one industrious slum-builder riding a bike up Whiteladies Road, no doubt going home. He was wearing a jaunty top-hat with a feather in it, looking like a character from Barnaby Rudge.

The tactics of these people remind me of a story about the great Labour Leader Ernest Bevin. In the 1940’s, as now, many Labour politicians loathed each other, and on being told that Ernest Morrison was his own worst enemy, Bevin replied “Not while I'm alive 'e ain't.

Among the people currently giving me wry amusement is J. P. Maroney, the famous writer and public speaker you never heard of.

Since his name rhymes with baloney I have never been quite sure if he is an elaborate practical joke, but for a long time he was trying to turn me, no doubt in exchange for money, into a wildly successful public speaker.

As I’ve been practicing at that for 34 years now – though with not nearly the success he guarantees - I haven’t paid much attention. Now, however, he is pushing some scheme whereby, faster and more easily than I have ever dreamed possible, I can become a famous author.

Well, I’ve been trying and failing at that, too, since 1964, when my first published book, a novel called “Some Rats Run Faster", came out. Quite regularly people embarrass me by saying they have found copies on the internet

This magisterial work would, said one reviewer, make me “Britain’s next best-selling author”. He was wrong, largely because though well-written it had no plot to speak of. If people don't want to know what's going to happen next, they lose interest.

Anyhow, yesterday the wag Maroney put up some answers to the questions many of us would-be authors ask ourselves. A brief quotation is called for.

Q2: Are you going to teach me how to write a book?

I have a unique approach to author. You’ll want to learn it and use it. Put it this way, with my method, you can literally "author" a book in a couple of days if you wish.

Q3: Can you help me choose WHICH book to write?

Yes. I'll show you how to find out what your market wants so you can write the RIGHT book (and make the maximum mool-lah from it).

Well stone the crows! Have I been barking up the wrong tree, or what? The “moo-lah” has been pathetically inadequate. I’ve been taking weeks and weeks to write a book. Amateurs like Mark Twain used to take years. With Maroney's method you could bang out the Bible by Christmas. That's a real money-spinner.

What I needed all the time but never knew it was a secret weapon called semi-literacy. Also, I must stop trying to write, start authoring and splash a few redundant quotation marks around.

I don’t quite know why, but I get the feeling that Mr. Maroney can do to literature what Hitler and Stalin did to Poland.


Incidentally, on capitalism, Winston Churchill's definition of democracy comes to mind. "The worst possible system, except for all the others."

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