Monday, 3 March 2008

Bad is good

Well maybe not good exactly - but certainly useful.

I was playing football on Saturday with my son and three friends and with Clive, the father of two of the other boys when Clive decided to actually tackle me like it was a proper game of football and I hit the ground with a nasty sounding crunch under my armpit. I twisted my ankle and was in some pain, but with ten year old boys looking on I held back the tears and hobbled on. I think I may have cracked a rib.

But the thing is as a writer, almost any experience adds to the stock of what you can use at a later date. Bad experiences are often more useful than good ones. It is so long since I lay on the grass after being tackled looking up at ten year old boys sillhouetted against the sky that I had forgotten how it felt: the cold earth seeping through your clothes, the desire to show enough pain for sympathy, but to bear it well enough for admiration. That will come in handy one day.

I got stung by a wasp on the way to a meeting at Random House once. I was on the tube and I felt something on my neck and then pain. I whacked the wasp to the floor and stomped on it and then waited to see whether I was going to be one of those people who are alergic and go into shock. Luckily I wasn't.

Then - about ten seconds later I thought: Now I know what it feels like to get stung by a wasp. Then I thought, 'Ow, that really hurts'. Then I thought, 'That will come in handy one day.' Then I thought 'Ow, that really hurts' again.

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