‘Do you like doing what you’re doing, Dad?’
‘Yeah, I guess so – why?’
‘Well, it just looks so boring.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, like, every time I come upstairs, you’re just looking at the screen, typing stuff.’
‘Yeah, it’s what I get paid to do. What do you want to do when you’re older?’
‘Not that. Anyway, mum said you’re taking us out after lunch; where are we going?’
A day in my life typing stuff upstairs in the study, and it’s obviously made a massive impression on my 11-year-old son. Who, incidentally loves to read – but hasn’t quite grasped the work that goes into those beautifully presented books he consumes.
Can’t say I blame him. Writing is hard work, and the process does look pretty dull to the outsider. But trust me, inside a writer’s head, it’s anything but. Instead, it’s rather like the Mines of Moria with tunnels weaving here and everywhere. And when little goblins appear, asking you where you’re taking them out after lunch – it’s like you’ve lost Gandalf all over again.
That thread or that right tunnel is sometimes hard to find and finding it, takes a healthy mixture of determination and flair. But then anyone can write, can’t they? Well, yes, technically, if they’ve had an education, then they should be able to string a few words together – but not everyone can tell a story.
A good writer should tell a story, but stories take time, and time costs money, and not everyone wants to spend money on….well, words. So, many businesses will get Harry, the junior office worker, to string a few sentences together about their 150-year-old company instead. Which, let’s face it, will reduce that old-as-time business to….mere words on a page. But that 150-year-old business has a story. And guess what, people love stories.
I’ll tell you another yarn to help illustrate the point.
A long, long time ago, when the same 11-yer old son I mentioned previously was just a tiny jot, it was not uncommon for him to wake me at the ungodly hour of 3:00 am. This story was one of those nights when, on this occasion, I was awoken by loud nattering from the adjoining room. Naturally irritated and a tad cheesed off, I went to investigate.
Upon entering the room, I find a half-naked toddler sat on the bed engaged in a full-blown unintelligible conversation with Son number two.
The fact that they were talking and not thumping each other was strange. Stranger still, however, and what indeed immediately drew my eye was the rather large wet patch in the middle of the floor. Putting two and two together – i.e. half-naked son and wet patch – I went irritably to the bathroom to fetch disinfectant and cloth. Audibly uttering all kinds of colourful expletives as I began to scrub the damp patch, I told the two miscreants to shut it, or else they’d find themselves up for adoption the following morning. At this, the offending son suddenly stopped chattering and giggling.
But it wasn’t because of my unguarded threat.
No, instead, he was rather enjoying the novelty of Daddy cleaning and scrubbing floors. Laying himself out on his front, hands under his chin, legs kicking the air, looking like a DaVinci cherub, he asked me in his sweet sing-song voice, ever so innocently –
‘What doing, Daddy Pig?’
I’m not proud of the profanities that ensued forthwith from my mouth. And though I can’t remember the exact words, there would have been a smattering of colloquialisms uttered, followed by the rather vulgar term for a wee-wee. Anyway, once I’d retrieved my cloth from the lampshade, calm was restored, and the offending child was changed and put back down.
Naturally, I donned a dressing gown and slippers, went straight into the garden, built a fire, lit it, and stoked it with every Peppa Pig DVD we owned.
The point is – stories matter. They’re captivating. Anyone can put down a few words, but those words have to be brought to life.
So, now you know a bit about me, you have a point of reference. If you want Frank Content to weave a story for your business, you know who to contact. Equally, if you’d just like to hear more insane stories about my kids – and there’s plenty – that’s fine, let’s chat.