The Privileges of the Author

It's a special way of life, being an author.

I won't call it a job because I've never seen it that way - for me, it's a love affair.

There's an almost mystical status attached to it. Witness this, from the Callington Book Fair, in Cornwall, where I was fortunate enough to be invited along at the weekend (thanks to all concerned for making me very welcome).

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The yellow piece of card is what marked the table for my books when I arrived at the fair. No more words were seen as necessary, simply that - amongst all the many bookstalls - this space was reserved for the "Author".

There are all the usual benefits authors get to talk about, like the places they travel and the people they meet. I've been very fortunate on both scores.

But the greatest privilege, in my humble view, is this; reduce the author's role to its basics and it comes out as -

Inventing a fantasy world inside your head, complete with occupants, then writing all about it. And, rather remarkably, people are actually interested in it, and want to pay you for your efforts.

I never noticed careers like that advertised when I was at school.

It really is an extraordinary way of life, and one I never stop being grateful for.

There are a couple more very handy benefits to being an author, which for me are probably the most useful.

One is that you can dress as oddly as you like and people don't flinch. An unusual taste in attire seems to be expected as part of the occupation.

But for me the best is this (and it probably even saves me from being arrested).

You can sit in the corner of a pub, all alone apart from your notes and thoughts, drink yourself a few beers, stare into space, sometimes burble away to yourself and occasionally write down a nugget of your great creative wisdom, and all anyone does is smile indulgently and remark - 

"It's ok, don't worry... he's an author."