Greetings, fellow fantasy lovers, and thank you all for your attendance on this very special day. For those of you who have just wandered in off the street and have no idea why today is special (or, in fact, where on earth or indeed the multiverse you are), I'll tell you: the Reflections of Reality blog is now a year old. Yay!
[pauses for congratulatory cheers and applause]
Thank you. Thank you. Have some cake.
(clears throat, which turns into a small coughing fit)
Sorry. Yeah. Hi. Well, we've been meeting here for several weeks now, and so far we've learned that (1) I'm a terrible procrastinator with obsessive-compulsive tendencies, (2) you guys don't talk much and (3) the tentacles may all be in my head. At least, the dog is the only other person who seems to be able to see them.
Since I'm not feeling up to much today, I'll keep this one – ah – ah – (holds finger up in mute plea for audience patience, before turning away and doubling over)
Short. I'll keep this one short.
Have you ever noticed – and I make this observation with no bitterness at all, mind you – how the protagonists of fantasy fiction almost never seem to catch the common cold? Maimed, stabbed, blinded, hacked and gouged, I grant you, but not once do they have to suffer the special humiliation of a red nose, blocked sinuses and a cough that could cut through a plank of wood. One can only assume that most fantasy worlds have, for whatever reason, failed to evolve a highly adaptable and easily transmittable virus of the kind we are so familiar with ourselves. Really, it's pretty darn lucky that none of the people who have ever found a way through from our world to another had a cold at the time. Think of the havoc that could have been wreaked on the unsuspecting immune systems of the indigenous populations.
Of course, there is another possibility, which is that authors hate making their characters appear undignified. Life-threatening injuries are fine. A few scars or missing limbs just show off how noble and heroic a character is. But there's nothing very noble or heroic about walking around with half a Kleenex stuffed up each nostril.* Because, let's face it, authors want readers to find their characters attractive – not necessarily in a would-love-to-sleep-with-them way (though that always helps), but certainly in a they're-so-goddamn-awesome way. And a cold, my friends, is the very opposite of awesome. A cold is where writerly dedication to making a character 'real' takes a little detour.**
(blows nose defiantly with a sound like a honking goose)
And that's it. In the words of Bilbo Baggins, a notable exception to the no-colds rule, 'thag you very buch' for coming. Please help yourselves to Lemsip and Vicks VapoRub on your way out.
* Believe me.
** This detour also handily avoids questions such as sewage arrangements, the personal hygiene levels of people who have been on the road for days, and the whole issue of toothbrushes in a faux-medieval society. Some things, we just don't want to know about.
Testing ... testing ... one two, one two ...
*clears throat nervously*
Hello. Can you hear me at the back? Hello? Sorry – let me just try this switch – hello? Ah, that's better. I must say it's great to see so many people here today. Six of you ... that's much more than I expected ... and a dog as well. Marvellous. Thank you ever so much for coming.
So, welcome to my blog. I know, just what the world needs: another blog. There are only a few billion of them out there already. But I hope you'll stick around all the same. You might enjoy yourself. And if not, you can always content yourself with pointing and laughing.
I'll be here around the same time every Sunday, so feel free to drop by. Topics will range from writing to books to fantasy in general to, well, writing. Sorry? What was that? You thought this was the Awesome Origami blog? No, I'm afraid you want next door. Great. Thanks.
Right. Where was I? Oh, yes ... this is a blog about writing. More specifically, writing fantasy, since that's what I'm most interested in myself. But as this is the first toe I have dipped into the murky waters of public wordsmithery, I can't promise not to deviate off topic in the future. In short: anything could happen, and probably will. Still, we're fantasy fans, right? We like a bit of adventure. So don't be alarmed if those big blue tentacles start coming through the walls again. Oh, and ignore the one-eyed man in the corner. His face always looks like that; I'm almost quite sure he's not trying to decide how to kill you.
Great. So, that's it from me until next week. Thanks for coming, all five – er – three of you. Plus dog. Please help yourselves to free cake on your way out.