Ok, so I’m a book writer and I should be proud of that but it’s funny - I don’t tell people! Not people I know who I meet in everyday life. Why? Because the first thing they ask is “what’s your book about?” and I turn into a gibbering wreck. I’ve written tens of thousands of words, synopses, blurbs, outlines, proposals, scripts for others to speak on stage, and yet when people ask me “what’s it about?” my first response is “um….well…uh…” Words are often my enemies. How can you summarise all that effort, that incredible journey, into just a few words of everyday language? I’ll admit I was never very good at ‘small talk’ - it’s a skill I never mastered and I watch people, particularly women, chat about their day or tell each other funny stories and I’m in awe. Such talk isn’t ‘small’ - it’s incredible. Such rhythm, such memories. Wish I could do that. That’s probably why I became a writer in the first place, so I could spend time crafting what seems to come to others so easily. I’ve edited this paragraph twenty times, correcting as I go along, re-reading it so it makes sense. So when someone I know meets me in the street and asks me “What’s it about?”, I’m struck dumb, wanting to reach for a notebook so I can craft a dazzling reply that makes them eager to read my book.
So if you are a writer, and you want to wear this t-shirt proudly, I suggest you fashion a reply and memorise it for every occasion. Keep it simple, even shorter than the blurb - a focused phrase, a dramatic teaser that draws them into the story in just a few words. Trust me, they will ask, and you’d better have your dazzling response ready. There’s nothing worse for a writer than the eyes of your audience glazing over as you mumble an inept reply.