I just found something that I wrote years ago. It was crumpled in the bottom of a box of keepsakes, old tickets, cards, letters and things.
It's a pretend page from a fauxmance - that's a parody of a Mills & Boon-style romance novel, of course - called Hot Nights And Cold Shoulders.
I thought I was so damn funny when I wrote it. You may not agree. Sometimes I do things that I think are hilarious and everyone else thinks are silly/pointless/unfunny. I am at peace with this. Anyway, this is the copy.
HOT NIGHTS AND COLD SHOULDERS
Hearing the noise, Chenille turned around.
It was him. Entering her chambers without so much as a by-your-leave.
She stood up angrily to go, but at once he was upon her, begging her with his deep brown eyes to listen, to let go of the past, to love.
'Please -' there was an urgency in his molten-honey voice. God, he was impenetrable.
'What do you want from me now, Boulder Bulwark?' she cried, throwing her lovely head back in passion. 'You've taken my plantation, my hopes for the future, even my house slaves! Enough is enough!'
Beads of sweat were beading on his brow. He grabbed her passionately, his manly arms encircling her girlish waist.
'There's one more thing I want to take.'
Before she knew it, his firm lips pressed down on her furiously clamped mouth. He was kissing her! Her small hands pummelled against his manly chest in protest. But to no avail.
She could feel the warmth of his boy pressed against hers and smell his tanned, work-roughened skin, that curious mix of cotton-rich earth, horse sweat and home-cooked grits that only true Southern gentlemen have. Quite a change from the Yankee-educated dandy who'd darkened her doorstep just three weeks ago.
Suddenly Chenille felt something she'd never felt before. Desire. And nature took over.
Without thinking she arched her back and began to kiss him back. She could feel his throbbing manhood pressed against her thigh as his tongue probed her mouth, his hands grazing he rosebud nipples of her firm but pendulous baps through the sheer muslin gown. An urgent ache started deep inside her virgin loins, and she remembered Momma's warnings.
But she didnt want to stop. Not now, not ever.
Chenille ran her hands through Boulder's thick chestnut hair. His turgid member thrust against her ever-questioningly. Her response needed no words as she undulated gently in that ancient rhythm. Her body was responding to his manliness in a way she couldn't deny.
'Oh, Boulder,' she sighed, as he began kissing her neck.
'Chenille, my darling Chenille,' he moaned. The sound of his voice brought her to her senses.
With all her strength she slapped him hard across the face.
'How dare you insult me like this?' she exclaimed, 'I may not be one of your sophisticated Yankee girls but that's just the way the Lord, my Momma and the Confederate Union made me. You take your filthy hands off me and leave my chambers this instant.'
'I will not,' Boulder replied, 'I've loved you since the moment you threw that damned jug of mint julep over me. You crazy, tempestuous, gorgeous Southern woman.'
He picked her up and carried her over to the bed. Like a branded filly, she was scared yet excited, and knew there was no use struggling. In the very depths of her soul she yearned for him to possess her. He placed her head tenderly on the pillow.
'Chenille Clemency Depoise, I want you to become my wife,' he murmured, his hands roaming and finding home in a place they'd never been before.
He caught his breath, watching, waiting for her response.
'Yes... yes my darling, yes!'
Yep. That's a fauxmance. I tried to twist all the classic Mills & Boon cliches, with stilted dialogue, awkwards sexual descriptions and - but of course! - adverbs a-go-go.
I found it yesterday and thought 'now, why the hell did I write that?'
I guess I liked (still like) writing things that made me laugh, even if there was no reason for doing it. I read a few very bad Mills & Boon-esque historical romances in my early teens and I thought it would be funny to take the piss. And more than anything I had oodles of creative energy that I wasn't using at work - I was writing a lot of financial copy at the time, ahem - so I channelled it into tiny pointless projects like this, instead.
What else did I do during that period? Well, I played silly games with friends, like making up names and straplines for pretend perfumes (Patriarchy! Daddy knows best...), I organised a series of Notting Hill-to-Chelsea pub crawls called Staggers (with their own advertising campaigns and straplines) that ended up with over 100 attendees, I made compilation CDs for friends and designed unique CD covers, I started a Cocktail Club (with Mad Men-style copy-heavy posters that changed weekly) at work, I offered free copywriting and marketing strategy to a local start up hair salon (yuh I bet they were thrilled).
I never tried to write a book. I didn't have the concentration. I was a scattergun of creative energy, unfocused and unsatisfied, gagging to just do something.
As it turned out my permanent niggling feeling of vague dissatisfaction was because I was - light bulb moment! - not satisfied with life. Once I sorted that out, everything got a lot easier.