FUNNY IS EVERYTHING
After I saw my first stand up gig aged 21, I didn’t sleep a wink, scrawling down ideas for jokes. Although that didn’t go anywhere for me, now that I write books for adults and cartoons for little kids I can express the way I see the world and hopefully make people nod and laugh.
I HAD A NOISY MID-LIFE HOBBY
I bought a drum kit in my forties. One of my next door neighbours was outside when it was delivered and looked horrified. We agreed times it was acceptable for me to play and I took two grade exams. I swapped to an electronic kit, but can’t lose myself in that fantastic primal way. If money or hearing were no object I’d soundproof a room and get loud ones again.
COFFEE IS A BIG PART OF MY DAY
Most evenings, me or my husband say ‘coffee tomorrow’ like it’s the biggest excitement going. First thing, I make a hot, very strong filter coffee with milk and take it to my office. Sometimes the coffee is good, and the writing isn’t. Sometimes it’s the other way around. If it’s both – bliss. I have another with breakfast then move onto green tea which I also love, but coffee has my heart. Just writing this I’m thinking ‘coffee tomorrow.’
I’M THE FAMILY HAIRDRESSER
My older daughter spurned my services a few years back, but I still do my husband and younger daughter’s hair. She recently wanted layers which we agreed were beyond my skills. The hairdresser thought her highlights had been done professionally, which she wouldn’t have thought if she’d seen my scrunched foil envelopes. (And heard me and my client bickering!)
I’M A MESSY COOK
I singe my sleeves, crack eggs which miss the bowl, knock chips into unreachable oven door cracks and spatter soup and cake mix everywhere. I’m worse than Claire, the main character in my novel, and she’s pretty bad.
I LOVE GETTING OLDER
Some aspects suck but they’re a small price to pay for how good I feel in my fifties. I’m much kinder to myself than I was fifteen years ago. A voice cuts in sooner to say, ‘oh well, nobody’s perfect’, or ‘you did your best.’ To be free of self-consciousness is amazing. I compliment strangers on their outfits, and I’ve waded in to stop fights kicking off. I know the world can be dangerous and unequal, but as an older woman, I feel powerful.
I FIND IT HARD TO CHOOSE
Given I know this, you would think I would limit my options but if I’m trying to choose flooring, for example, I consider every single style and type available to humanity and then massively struggle to narrow things down. My husband has learned to say ‘bring me your top two when you get there.’ Given the thousands of decisions involved in writing a novel, I’m surprised I’ve managed it.
THE SUMMER HOLIDAY by Jo Clegg is published 10th June 2021 by Orion Fiction in Paperback Original, eBook and audio £8.99