I expect you’re wondering how Arthur got from the tobacconists to Thailand? It's a long story. I'll get round to it in due course. Meanwhile here he is in present time sitting in his bookshop in Northern Thailand. Business is slow. He might sell the odd book or swap one or rent one out. The internet has played hell with the book market but some people still like them.
Doesn't look like he's doing much at the moment but he's actually hard at work thinking about a book he intends to write one of these days.
It’s hard to think of Arthur as a tortured genius. Anguish? Not really. He doesn’t feel any great existential inner conflict. In as much as he exists in the real world at all he just sort of plods along. Takes things a day at a time so to speak.
Nor does he feel any burning need to communicate. So why does he write….if making notes can be considered writing? Maybe because there are days when he feels like part of the human race. For some obscure reason he wants to record his thoughts and feelings and share them with his fellow men, and women of course…and in so doing unburden himself.
It’s as if Arthur has been suppressed all his life, by his mother mainly of course, and growing up in England, the class system, the climate. The school she’d sent him to hadn’t helped much either nor had his two years of National Service. It’s a burden he seems doomed to carry around all his life and he wishes there was some way of exorcising all his demons. Living in Thailand hasn’t done much for his joi de vivre either really. He desperately wants to write but he doesn’t know where to start…his head is full of ideas and experiences from his own time in Thailand and the stories he’d heard over the years…but he knows the creative process can’t be rushed. It either comes or it doesn’t. So he makes notes…but so far he’s only been able to come up with a couple of short stories. He has one short story more or less finished and he’d shown it to Jim in ‘Silly Suds’. Which had been a mistake in hindsight. It had taken Jim weeks to get round to reading it and then he hadn’t said much.
‘It’s not bad Arthur but…’
‘Well mate I’m not really the one to ask about literature am I?…Daily Mail and lavatory walls is about my limit… ‘
Not very helpful.
It had been a lot of work getting that final draft ready for public consumption. Arthur had written and re-written it and kept making changes right up to the minute before he’d had it printed out in the Internet place and then one day he’d bitten the bullet and sent it off to a magazine in the UK. How long ago had that been? Five months? Six? And he’d heard nothing. Not even a rejection slip. It was enough to drive an aspiring author to drink. He takes a notebook from his pocket and begins to write…
Dear Whatsname…Thank you for your total lack of interest in my manuscript. I sincerely apologize for submitting the thing in the first place and appreciate your unwillingness to respond to my e-mails or long distance telephone queries. I should have sent it to somebody who knows good writing when they see it instead of wasting your valuable time. Also I regret calling your secretary a snotty bitch on the phone and hope she understands that I have been under a lot of stress lately. She is just doing her job and I suppose she gets tired of shielding you from the unwashed herd of unpublished writers but that’s her job so she should be able to deal with it don’t you think? And as for you and your spineless approach to editing all I can say is that you have passed up a great opportunity as far as my work is concerned and one day you will regret it. I am not a vindictive person by nature but I can be a vengeful when I’m roused I’ll have you know. I should also point out that I am in the book trade myself and I have connections. As for my manuscript which you probably didn’t even read and with which I enclosed the appropriate stamped addressed envelope well don’t even bother sending it back to me as you should by rights do. Instead please be so kind as to fold it into a cone and shove it up your arse…I mean anus…no arse…
There, that’s the way to deal with those people. Who do they think they are anyway? Sitting in their fancy offices in Kensington and places and going to literary lunches. Nitpicking Old Etonian twits mostly. Bloody punctuators. They know nothing about real life.