“Truth to tell,” I said, “I don’t really know where to start.”
She took a deep breath. “OK, she said, I’ll help you.”
I felt better already. I looked at her enquiringly.
She frowned back, then tilted her head to one side. Still frowning she said, “You know, for an ol’ man of 59 you’re not bad looking.”
“Thanks,” I said, not too sure if it was a compliment or not.
“I think you should start with a picture of yourself,” she said.
“Like this one?” I asked.
“No, that’s far too relaxed,” she said. Everyone will think you spend all day in Boston Tea Party in Ringwood drinking coffee.”
“Café Nero in Yeovil would be nearer the mark actually,” I said.
“Well wherever you do it, it doesn’t suggest the right image at all.”
I frowned back. “OK,” I said. “What image do I need?”
“A writerly image, of course,” she said.
“Well yes, obviously that,” I answered. “But what do writers look like?”
“Oh, they’re terribly sophisticated people and they look serious and educated and well, writerly. You know.”
“Do I?” I said doubtfully. “I suppose I have to shave off my beard, then?”
She tilted her head the other way and frowned at me again. She does that when she’s thinking. Maybe I should try doing it myself. Maybe that would look writerly.
“No,” she said, “the beard’s OK. But the hair’s a problem.”
“What’s wrong with it?” I asked, beginning to feel ever so slightly defensive.”
“Well, she said, backing off a bit to get a better view, “It’s alright, I suppose, but it’s just not, well, writerly hair. How about a hat? Would you be willing to wear a hat?”
I made a sceptical face. “Worth a try I suppose.”
“Right! We’ll get you a Panama. And a jacket!” she perked up. “You need to wear a nice light coloured summer jacket. And that blue granddad shirt you’ve just bought. That would look cool. But remember to leave the top button undone.”
I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to look cool. But I really do want to be a writer. And if that meant looking cool, well then, yes, I suppose I have to look cool.
“Is this cool enough? I asked.
She frowned that frown of hers again. “Ish,” she said.
“Yeah, ish.” she said. “It’s cool-ish.”
I thought I’d better settle for cool-ish before she changed her mind.
“So, hadn’t we better get on with writing this blog then?” I asked.
“Yeah, we should,” she said. I propose that in the next post we show a sample of your writing. Maybe a piece of flash fiction.”
“Which one?” I asked