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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Out-takes XXV

‘Yeah, I’ve been reading those books again. I read all kinds of books. That’s one of the things I do. Everybody in the world does a few things, you know that. Or you might get some people who do lots of different things and they’re crap at all of them. Most of us, we’re good at our jobs or our families and then we’re good at our hobbies, like collecting stamps or using computers, whatever it is.

‘What I’m good at, I’m good at my job and I’m good with Janet and Echo, and I’m an expert on Sam Turner. After that I’m good at reading about psychology because I find it fascinating how people’re motivated and I have a certain penchant with the English language, making up metaphors, which is why I read poetry books with poems in them.’

Sam sighed. ‘Geordie, I’m saying this because I’m your friend, so don’t take it wrong. OK?’

‘I’m listening.’

‘You are good at your job and you are good with Janet. Psychology, I can see you’re interested in it and you do know something about it, but you’re not an expert.’

‘OK. I can take that.’

‘But you certainly don’t have a penchant for the English language. What does it mean? Penchant.’

‘An inclination. A liking for it.’

‘You sure?’

‘Yeah. Look it up in the dictionary.’

‘I thought it meant you were good at it.’

‘No,’ Geordie said. ‘Lot of people think that, but that’s not what it means.’

‘OK, if it means a strong liking for the English language, maybe you have.’

‘I have, Sam. I should know that. There’s no maybe here. I have a strong penchant for the English language. I didn’t have much of an education what with my mother getting lost when I was still young. That set me back a few years, worrying about where she’d got to, and then running away from children’s homes took over for a while, so all in all I didn’t get a lot of essays written when I was a kid, missed out on a few grammar lessons.

‘Being on the street for a couple of years didn’t help, either. It’s not the best environment for book reading. People might think of it as an opportunity, you know, not a lot of things to do so you might as well read. But when you’re homeless reading doesn’t seem to occupy your mind as much as you’d think.

‘So all this hit me late. Reading, culture, psychology, all that stuff. When I started working for you, Celia giving me English lessons, JD being a writer and knowing all that philosophy. For the first few months, maybe a year or more I was in a flat spin. Half the time I didn’t know what anybody was talking about. But I don’t have that problem any more. I’m clued up. Mature. I know what I like, I’ve got my penchants all lined up.’

‘This is another one of those times you like,’ Sam told him.

‘You mean you’re wrong?’


‘And you’re admitting it?’


‘It’s really great to be here, you know that,’ Geordie said. ‘Wouldn’t have missed it for the world.’

One Response to “Out-takes XXV”

  1. M says:

    Excellent voice in this piece. Related to it. Thanks.


    jb says: Yeah, I think the voice is consistent. But it didn’t make into the final draft of the novel, and now I can’t remember why. That must happen to other people, too? I’m sure there was a perfectly good reason at the time.