Friday, June 05, 2015

Sometimes if I need to remember something, I wear my wedding ring on my right hand. For the past couple of days I'd added another ring and had left the wedding ring on the left to remember there are two things I need to do. I finally did the the things yesterday. 
Now after a remembering-flood in bed last night and much ring swapping, I wake this morning to find two rings on my right hand (on the same finger). If my calculations are correct, there are four important things that I need to do today, and I can't for the life of me remember what they are.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I was with a few friends the other night and we got to talking about the crazy ISIL or ISIS and how they have been destroying all those statues and stone reliefs. And then of course we started talking about all the things that have been taken out of Iran over the years.
I love Persepolis. There isn’t much left of it but it’s wonderful to just be there in the ruins. But it wasn’t until I had gone to the Louvre that I saw how amazing Persepolis really was. Most of our really great stuff is in the Louvre and the British Museum and other museums around the world. And with ISIL now on our doorstep, maybe that’s a good thing?
These guys are scary. They are truly the no fun and all mental, fundamentals. And they are rich now! The Taliban have poppy fields. These guys have oil fields. And they’re armed to the teeth with weapons they’ve collected on their way. These are weapons that were discarded by the American soldiers on their way out of the country in 2011, and the weapons they’ve collected from the Iraqi Army; trained by the American army to defend the country and keep the peace, and also weapons they have brought back with them from Syria. Iran is now fighting ISIL in Iraq, trying to stop them from reaching its borders.
Previously ISIL had been fighting in Syria against President Assad’s army alongside freedom fighters who were receiving help and support from the US.
Previously ISIL, a small militia group, had been fighting the US army in Iraq.
Previously the invasion and regime change in Iraq had left the country in turmoil and had created a fairy-tale terrorist getaway.
Previously in 2003 the US and Britain had decided it was time to disarm Saddam Hossein. Civilian deaths in Iraq between 2003 and 2011: Over 114,000
Previously in an attempt to capture Osama Bin Laden of Al-Qeda, the US had started a war with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Civilian deaths: between 18,000 and 20,000
Previously Al-Qeda had launched attacks on US soil on September 11 2001. Civilian deaths: 3,000
Previously in 1990 the US had angered Osama Bin Laden by keeping its armed forces in Saudi Arabia after throwing Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
Previously in 1988, an Iranian Airbus passenger plane had been shot down by a United States Navy guided missile in Iranian airspace, over Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. All 290 passengers and crew members had died instantly. US government had not even apologised for this and the incident had been ignored by western media.
Previously in 1986 The United States and Great Britain had blocked all Security Council resolutions condemning Iraq's use of chemical weapons against Iranians. Meanwhile the US had helped the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan with money and weapons in their fight against the Russians. The warfare between Russia and the Mujahidin devastated Afghanistan. Around 2 million refugees fled into Pakistan and another 1.8 million into Iran.
Previously in 1982, Osama Bin Laden had entered Afghanistan to help the Mujahedeen and had formed Al-Qaeda. Meanwhile the US was helping Iraq with weapons to be used against Iran and president Regan had removed Iraq from its list of known terrorist countries.
Previously in 1980, Iraq had invaded Iran, beginning a war that went on for 8 years. During all this time, Iraq was supported by the US with weapons (including chemical ones) and intelligence. Overall death toll: 1 million for Iran and 500,000 for Iraq.
Previously in 1979 Shah of Iran had been overthrown and the Islamic Republic of Iran had been formed. Its main mission had been to put a stop to foreign exploitation of Iran. Relations between Iran and the US had broken down completely and the US had put sanctions on Iran.
Previously the US had benefitted immensely from the very successful coup it had organized in Iran. US had now acquired 40% share in Iran’s oil. Britain’s share had now gone down to 40% and French and Dutch companies had the rest.
Previously in 1953, the democratically elected Mossadegh had been taken down from power in a CIA and MI6 drafted operation.
Previously in 1952, Mossadegh had nationalised the Iranian oil industry. This meant that instead of Britain, the Iranian people would benefit from Iran’s oil money. He also defended freedom of religion and freedom of speech. He fought for the rights of women and workers. By giving more help to farmers and sponsoring development projects in rural areas Mossadegh was trying to create a self-sufficient country that did not have to rely only on oil production. He was also trying to put an end to British political interference and exploitation of Iran’s national resources. In response to this the British government had imposed economic sanctions on Iran and was threatening military attack.
Previously in 1941, British and Russian forces had invaded Iran even though Iran had stayed mutual in Second World War and had sent the then king, Reza Shah to exile for his siding with the Germans. He had also tried to fight Britain over a very ridiculous oil deal they had signed with another king, from a completely different dynasty forty years earlier. At that time Anglo Iranian Oil Company which the British government was now a major shareholder in, had the rights to all the oil in the south of Iran. In exchange they were supposed to pay a meagre 16% of their profits to the government but they were even trying to cheat their way out of that. He had also tried to stop the French and the British from taking our ancient artefacts.
Previously in 1901 The British had bought the rights to exclusive oil exploration in the south of Iran. The Russians controlled the North.
Previously in 1895 after trying to stop our valuables from leaving the country and failing miserably, Nasereddin Shah singed a contract with the French and granted them excavation rights in Iran. They could take away half of everything they found. They took almost everything.
Previously in 1825 a collection of reliefs from Persepolis had been donated to the British Museum by Gore and William Ouseley. They had taken them from Apadana around 1811.
Well it doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not good to stay bitter about who stole whose artefacts or who overthrew whose government. And it’s not like these stone reliefs have been taken to another dimension or anything like that, is it?! They’re still on the same planet. We can still jump on planes and go and see them whenever we like…What’s that sorry?...No we can’t?!...Oh no don’t worry, we will get a visa…What’s that?...No you won’t give us visas?! … Why is that then?...Oh you think we’re terrorists!...That’s a common mistake. No you see, we’re fighting the terrorists…What’s that now?...You don’t wanna risk it?...yeah OK I understand…Yes and we did burn your flag a few times. Yes and we did take in those British navy guys that time, took their iPods and called them Mr Bean. That was mean. We let them go after a couple of days but I’m sure they were completely traumatised, not like those guys holidaying in Guantanamo, having the time of their lives. Yes that was terrible sorry about that…Yes and we did throw stones at your embassy that time, don’t remind me. That was horrible. I was talking to an Afghan friend who was saying, “Give me a drone strike on a wedding any day but never burn my flag. Getting blown up by well-dressed people who shake hands and shave their beards is acceptable; this is how you know you have a civilised, educated enemy. A few idiots burning your flag or throwing stones at your embassy wall, that’s what really hurts. That’s what the media should focus on.”
It just makes me laugh so much when I imagine these ISILs charging their way through the streets of Shiraz on their American tanks and Humvees with our severed heads on the end of their bayonets and then arriving at Persepolis and realising that the joke is on them because we’ve already been robbed! Classic! They’re gonna feel so silly. I just hope they don’t do something really awful like burn our flag or throw stones or anything like that.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I have these memories from my childhood (usually of situations that have puzzled me the first time round) that I revisit at different times in my life and find new meanings in them. This is one such memory.
I’m four or five and I’m sitting on the backseat of my uncle’s car in between my mum and my grandmother. My aunt and my uncle are in the front. All the women are wearing black. My uncle is wearing a denim shirt and has his sleeves rolled up. His left arm is resting on his rolled down window. It’s very tanned and brown. His other arm is much lighter. Every so often he smiles winks at me in the rear view mirror. We’re on a dusty road making our way to prison to visit my grandfather. The grownups are chatting about stuff I have absolutely no interest in. It’s all, blah blah confiscated blah blah executed. It’s grownup-speak.
They all look very serious but as soon as they look at me they smile and pass me orange segments or bread. All is well with me but then suddenly something happens. And this is why my brain decides that it should record and file this incident so I can go over it later. I notice that the biggest blob of snot is making its way out of my nose.
“Tissue,” I say to my mum, pointing to my nose, “I need a tissue.”
My mum starts rummaging through her bag and saying, “Does anyone have a tissue?”
My aunt starts looking through her bag too but my grandma doesn’t. Straightaway she holds a part of her headscarf between two fingers and says, “Blow!”
I’m horrified. I don’t want to blow my nose on someone’s headscarf. But before I can say anything she pushes my head forward and wipes my nose. I pull my head back and see the most enormous blob of snot in all its yellow-green glory dangling from her scarf. She smiles at me and quickly and expertly, folds that area of her scarf and ties it in a knot. The snot is now cocooned in her scarf and dangling in front of her chest where it stays all day dangling in the prison waiting room and in the visiting room and all the way back home again in the car on the dusty road. And no matter how much I stare at it, I can’t work out why someone would voluntarily wear someone else’s snot.  

The next time I visited this memory was as a revolutionary teenager. When I looked back I was embarrassed for having been such a stupid little kid. I had been there with these people whose lives had been turned upside down. They had lost everything and all I was interested in was why did my grandmother wipe my nose with her headscarf!
After the revolution, my grandfather had been put in prison and my grandmother had come out of her home one day to visit her sister and had never been able to get back into her home again because it had been confiscated along with everything else they owned. They hadn’t done anything; it’s just that the general rule after a revolution is that the rich and the poor swap places. Our home had been taken too. As if that wasn’t enough, there was talk of my grandfather being executed. In fact one day his name had been announced on the radio as one of the people who had been killed that morning. It had been a mistake but these were the kind of things that these people were dealing with at the time of the great “snot in a knot” incident! These people were sad and anxious, scared and worried but they still had to give me fake smiles and winks to keep me happy in the car and in other places. That must have been very hard for them. Just the thought of that made me cringe with embarrassment.
When I talked to my grandmother about all this, she would say, “Yes but I’m much happier now than I was before the revolution. I have a better life now,” she’d say, “I never liked living in that mansion.”
But did that matter? It was great that she was happy but what had happened to her was still wrong and very bad. I wished I could go back in time and somehow stop that from happening. When I grew up, I would make sure no one suffered from an injustice. I would even give my life to protect people’s rights.  

The next time I revisited this memory was as a mother. I had picked Dara up and he had thrown up straight down my cleavage and so once more (yes this happened more than once) I found myself trying to make my way to the bathroom while carrying a baby and trying to stop a large quantity of sick from sliding down my top, down my trouser legs and onto the carpet. I looked at Dara and I thought to myself, “You little man are the only person in the whole world who can get away with throwing up on me. And not only that but when you do this my first thought is not, “Oh I have sick on me, how horrible I think I’m going to throw up”, but it’s, “Is he OK and how can I make him happy.”
And suddenly I was in that car again on the dusty road, with a runny nose. But now the memory was no longer about the injustice or sadness or who executed whom, how, why and with what effect. Yes those people were upset and worried and anxious, and yes they had lost everything but the smiles and winks they gave me were real. Most importantly, someone (who was not my mother) had once loved me so much, that she had worn my snot in a knot like a crest on her chest for an entire day in Evin prison. That is COOL!

Finally, this is what I’m seeing now when I take a trip down that dusty memory lane as a woman approaching forty.
People always said my grandmother was the kindest person in the world. They couldn’t understand how she could lose everything and still be happy and be able to laugh until she had to excuse herself and go and change her outfit or say things like, “Our house in the village has been turned into a school, isn’t that great?!” and really mean it. But she herself said to me time and again when I was older that the revolution and losing all her stuff, had actually, if she was absolutely honest, been good for her. Before the revolution, they had been very rich. They had lots of land and lived in a great big mansion with a huge garden. They were far away from their family and friends. People visited them once a week for Friday lunch. Lots and lots of people would come which she loved but she didn’t really get to sit down and have a nice chat with the people she missed; she was running around most of the time, being a good hostess.
After the revolution when she lived in a flat in Tehran, her friends and relatives visited her almost every day. My uncle and cousins lived two minutes away and we went there all the time too.
Her relationship with my grandfather (I don’t want to get into the details but let’s just say it) wasn’t good. After a few years when he was released from prison, he was a completely different person. The two of them began a wonderful relationship and stayed together until the end.
So this is what I’m thinking about now:
If as a direct result of a great injustice, the person who the injustice has been done to ends up begin happier than before, do we still call it a bad thing or is it a good thing now?!
If I could go back in time now and stop that from happening, would I do it?
Is it disturbing that I can’t even agree (on a simple matter of right and wrong) with my own self over the course of my own lifetime?!

Now what I’m really looking forward to is revisiting this memory as a grandmother. I’m hoping that I will then find out the true meaning of Snot in a Knot. I’m secretly hoping to find out that grandchildren’s snot has some kind of healing power and can be sold for a good price at a special grandmothers’ bazar in downtown Tehran.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Multiculturalism. It's a beautiful thing. But are we using it to its full potential?
I am very pleased to report that lately I have had the pleasure of helping many of my fellow citizens in my host nation by sharing with them the knowledge and wisdom of my other culture. Yesterday I bumped into one such helpee and he thanked me profusely for what I had done for him five weeks prior.
You see my neighbour wanted to take his family away in Easter but he wanted to leave a few days before the holidays started because tickets were so much cheaper then. He had filled in a form at his son’s school and asked for two days off for him.
I saw him getting out of his car one morning, waving papers in the air and foaming at the mouth. “They refused,” he was yelling, “Can you believe it?”
I said, “Children aren’t allowed to take days off any more. You know that right?”
“Yes but I was honest with them,” he spat, “I told them that if we didn’t leave early we couldn’t afford to go on holiday. They still rejected my request.”
He was absolutely furious. He said he was going to take his son out of that school because he was so angry with them.
I said to him, “Listen. I can fix your problem but you must do exactly as I tell you, no more, no less. First you go home and bin those papers. Scratch that, recycle them. Then book those cheap tickets for you holiday. On the day of your departure, take your family to the airport and just before getting on the plane, call the school and tell them that your child is sick.”
Now five weeks later he was back here thanking me for my help. They’d had a lovely holiday and he had not taken his child out of that school or had a fistfight with the head-teacher.
Unfortunately Mr Farage does not see these positive impacts that we foreigners can have on the society. All he sees is foreign pickpockets coming here and stealing jobs from British pickpockets. How many children have now been able to go skiing in term time or sun themselves in Canary Islands because of my sound advice to their parents? At least six.
British people find it very difficult to lie. They are forever owning up to things and telling the "truth".
"I broke that. I'm very sorry. I take full responsibility."
"I'm very sorry but I might have scratched your car."
"We seem to have invaded your country for no reason whatsoever but don't worry we're leaving now. You're OK clearing up right? Excellent! Bah-bye now. Bah-bye.”
An Iranian can and will take her child out of school for a week to go skiing and then sends her back with a sick note from a doctor friend that the child will give to her teacher with a tanned face and goggle marks around her eyes.
An Iranian does not feel guilty about lying to the authorities. We have a lot of rules that don't make sense so we have to decide for ourselves which ones we accept and which ones we ignore.
For example the number one rule of drinking in Iran is that you never admit to it. Deny. Deny.Deny. Always. Even if you’re too wasted to stand up straight and you’re having to hold onto something to try and steady yourself and that something turns out to be the beard of the police officer who is trying to arrest you, you still do not admit to drinking.
“No shir, I have never had a drink in my whole entire life. Hic”
There are special situations however in which a British person will as a rule, always lie. In Britain no one's bum ever looks big in anything. "You look great," they keep telling each other, "you look great!"
When I first came to England, a young lady of eighteen, with a head full of dreams and a face full of facial hair, I did not know about these nuances of culture. You see I am not a big fan of looking at myself in the mirror so usually when an aunt or a friend said to me, “Seriously, do something about your face or I’m not going anywhere with you” that was my cue to mow down my moustache. But here in England everyone had been all, ‘What hair? Where? I can’t see anything. You look great!"
I was under the impression that since moving to England my moustache had become invisible. Six months had passed like this until one day I met up with an Iranian friend who set me straight. She told me that I had become a victim of a reverse case of Emperor's New Moustache and that this in fact was the reason shopkeepers were calling me sir. Thanks a bunch British people! I looked like Clark Gable. Thank you for your “honesty” and “sincerity”!
Iranians never lie about the important things in life. An Iranian will tell you if your bum looks big in something, sometimes when you haven’t even asked.
You see Mr Farage, there is so much we must learn from you and there is so much you can learn from us. We know this. Why else would we leave behind our families and friends, our dry countries, and most importantly, the safety and security of our metric system to come here? I’ve been here for twenty years now and I still have absolutely no idea how much my friends weigh or how tall they are or how much grape I’ve bought. And although the separate scorching hot and freezing cold taps have been absolutely brilliant on those rare occasions when I’ve wanted to pasteurise my hands, I still don’t fully understand them. It’s a daily struggle but we soldier on because we have a dream; a dream to make a new breed of superhuman beings with impeccable queuing ethics and the ability to take their children out of school in term time without breaking out in a rash. Who knows maybe one day they will even use the metric system. But let’s not set our goals too high now. One step at a time.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Our PC is probably the least smart of all our electrical goods at the moment and I’m including the toaster in this. The toaster is not smart but it does what is asked of it. The PC is not smart but it thinks it is. It’s like a teenager. It thinks it knows better than us. It even has that, do-I-have-to air about it. Every time I ask it to save something, it comes up with questions like, “Are you sure you want to include all the layers?” So the Iranian in me starts taarofing and I go and delete some of the layers and merge a few together and then ask it again politely to save the file, if it’s not too much trouble. Then it does it finally, reluctantly. And I can’t work out what its problem is. It’s not like it has better things to do, other places to be. It just can’t be bothered. And it’s constantly denying the existence of things, “File does not exist”, “Scanner cannot be found” I’m looking at the file on its desktop and the scanner is five centimetres away from it. Luckily I’m quite good at fixing computer problems. I turn the scanner off and on again. The two of them meet. The computer sighs. 
The only subject our PC is actually interested in is virus protection. Every time I turn it on, there is a new virus it needs to be protected from. It’s a complete hypochondriac. So I get AVG on the case, who always recommends a full body scan. Then I have to sit there while the PC tells AVG all about its various ailments. I swear there is something going on between those two. 
My phone is definitely my favourite of all our gadgets. The only negative thing I can say about my phone is that it doesn’t speak Farsi. Even that is not a problem actually, it’s the fact that it doesn’t speak Farsi but insists it can that gets on my nerves a little. I keep saying to it, “You don’t speak Farsi and that’s absolutely fine. Please just don’t autocorrect me when I’m writing something. For example when I wrote that email to that Iranian publisher and you autocorrected my Bemoom (stay) to Bekoon (to my bottom) that was not funny.” And it wasn’t. 
But I love its enthusiasm. It’s like a puppy dog. Even when I’m writing something with a pencil (pencils never have any idea what you’re writing and won’t even attempt to guess) I can see my phone on the table with its hands up going, “I know! I know what you’re trying to write! Pick me! Pick me!” 
My iPad is evil. I’m pretty sure it’s planning a coup against us or something even more evil and twisted like hijacking the television and locking all the channels onto Iranian Press TV. It’s smart. Maybe a bit too smart. And cheeky. 
It has gone and given me a nickname for example, off his own bat, without my say-so. And now wherever my name appears, underneath it says, “Dark Tower”. 
“You are Shirin,” it tells me, “but because we’re buddies, I get to call you Dark Tower.” 
I’m pretty sure it’s alive. One time Dara said to it, “If I put a book in front of your screen, will you read it to me?”
The iPad replied, “I’m sorry but I seem to have misplaced my reading glasses in another dimension.”
We thought this was brilliant. Our iPad is so witty we thought, wonderful. Sometime after that we had a few friends over and we were telling them about this. Then we thought why tell them when we can just show them! So we brought the iPad out and we asked the question again. Do you know what it said? 
“I will do a web search for that, Dark Tower.”
We were like, “No no no, don’t do a web search! Say that funny thing!” 
But it just flat out refused to say it and made me look like a complete idiot. You see what I mean when I say it’s evil. 
My phone too calls me Dark Tower. But I don’t mind that. I know that is the iPad’s doing. It probably told my phone that this is what I wanted. My phone is very gullible. The iPad was here way before my phone arrived. My phone looks up to the iPad.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sometimes I look at Dara looking up at me with his big eyes and I think, "You're a smart kid, surly by now you've worked out that I'm just making this up as I go along!"
And it doesn't end with parenting, does it? It's like we're always just making it up as we go along.
I used to work in an office. Everyone appeared to be doing stuff but if you looked at them their eyes would say, "I have no idea what I'm doing here!"
It's like someone had said, "Pretend these people work in an office."
It's like we're in some kind of game and we're being played with by some children and they're saying things like, "Pretend this is a famous pop-star and he sings laa laa la and everyone loves him."
"Pretend this is a famous artist."
"Pretend there is a very clever man who can't move and sounds like a robot."
They say the main pretend and we fill in the gaps ourselves. It makes sense, doesn't it? How else can you explain the Iran Iraq war for example?
"Pretend they're fighting. Now pretend they're not fighting any more."
The one in charge of Oxfordshire is completely obsessed with building work. At any given time he must have at least ten building works going on. If there is absolutely nothing to do, he will send three vans and nine council workers to rebuild our bin shed. He has done this three times in the past twelve months. The workers have no idea why they keep doing this.
I'm pretty sure the one in charge of United Nations is a toddler. The other children didn't want her in the game but their parents said she had to be. So she got a room full of well dressed people that go, "blah blah blah" and an army of people with funny hats that do nothing and have no power.
The one in charge of Israel is another toddler and he doesn't listen to anyone.
The others say, "No you absolutely cannot put a wall there."
He says, "Yes I can. Look! There!"
The others run to their parents and complain. But their parents say, "Let little Joshie play too or we'll go home right this second."
So they let Joshie play. But the girl in charge of Iran is not happy.
"If he's doing that then I will make all my people grow beards and pretend we're making a big bomb and pretend we're making a big power station."
"Which is it then bomb or power station?"
"That's for me to pretend to know and for you to pretend to find out."
Every now and then the toddler insists that there is going to be a big meeting at the United Nations and everyone must attend to listen to blah blah-blah-blah.
And that in my opinion is how the world works.
"Pretend this person is talking nonsense."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Midbook Crisis
I met this shiny brand-new pencil in Costa. We doodled together. We doodled on napkins. We doodled on the back of receipts. We even doodled in the toilets on toilet paper. I knew it was wrong but it felt so right.
This was not the kind of pencil you would take to meet your agent or to an IBBY Conference. It had Hello Kitty on it. It was unpredictable and unruly. Not like my own pencil that practically draws itself. With this one, drawing every cat whisker, every penguin beak was a struggle but did I care.
We came out of the toilets to a sea of tut-tutting, eye-rolling customers, waiting to use the facilities. I dropped Hello Kitty off where I’d found it, next to a half empty or half full cup of latte on an unused table in a dark corner of the cafĂ©.
I went home and in an attempt to avoid my pencil I went straight to bed. I tossed and turned for hours. Was it the guilt that was not letting me sleep or the fact that it was only three o'clock in the afternoon? I’ll never know.
I spent the entire morning in G&D, casing the joint with a hot chocolate in front of me. Yesterday had been a spare of the moment thing. I had not planned it. Today was planned. I knew exactly what I was doing. I had even brought four sheets of gleaming white A4 paper in the anticipation of what was to come.
Word soon spread that the hot chocolate drinking black-haired person in the corner pays good gummy bear for a go on your crayon. Toddlers came to see me from all over. Soon I was swimming in drawing materials. And it was bliss even if I felt dirty. Many of the crayons were sticky with ice-cream and syrup.
When I got home I went straight into the shower. My pencil said nothing. We hardly ever speak any more.
As I came out of Broad Canvas, clutching tightly to my Where’s Wally bag heavy with Artist Quality Windsor and Newton watercolour sets, new paintbrushes and jewel encrusted sketchbooks, I bumped into a fellow illustrator. Our eyes met and he knew instantly something was not quite right.
‘What’s in the bag?’ he asked.
I shook my head, ‘Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.’
‘OK,’ he said backing off with his palms out towards me in front of his chest in an attempt to calm me down, ‘take it easy.’
I relaxed a little then and loosened my grip on the bag. That was when he went for it. He snatched it right out of my hands.
‘Just as I suspected,’ he said looking inside, ‘You’re having a midbook crisis.’
‘I'm not!’ I yelled, going for my bag but he pulled it away. ‘Give that back!’ I yelled, ‘Can’t an illustrator treat herself to a few luxury items without being accused of going through a “midbook crisis”?!’
‘Listen to me,’ he said, ‘I'm trying to help you.’ He pulled off a gummy bear from my collar and held it in front of me. How could I have been so careless?
‘I've been down this road before,’ he said, ‘it begins with nasty, sticky crayons in ice-cream parlours and it ends in your agent and editor breaking down the door of a seedy motel in Paris and finding you with a half empty bottle of masking fluid, wearing nothing but tissue paper.’
I sighed and shook my head. ‘Down the rabbit hole,’ I said.
‘It was actually Green Eggs and Ham,’ he sighed, ‘I’d storyboarded the entire book straight onto the walls in day-glow paint.’
I nodded.
‘Go home,’ he said, ‘go to your own pencils and paintbrushes. Don’t give into your midbook crisis for it will swallow you whole.’