A little slice of life

So there we are, in a cafe. We’ve just had lunch and we’re in search of cake to take home (sometimes, if you look up greedy sod on the web, you can see my picture within the first ten searches). There’s a woman in front of us who’s buying lunch or a coffee or something (when I’m in cake mode, I don’t pay too much attention to what other people are doing – except the person dealing with the cake). Anyhow, the lady in front of us turns to Anne and whispers something. All I notice is the aggrieved look on her face.

So, we leave, and Anne tells me the story of the woman in the queue. What she said to Anne went along the lines of, “It’s not fair – your two pieces of cake were both much bigger than my piece here,” and sure enough, apparently, she was right. Quite what Anne was supposed to do about it, I don’t know. Perhaps the woman was hoping she’d trade with her or act as a witness for a future legal claim.

The point is: no one knew why there was such a variance in cake distribution. It may have been a different person cutting the slices. Or it could have been that the staff noted we’d just bought lunch there. Or it may even have been that they just didn’t like the woman’s tone of voice when she ordered. Who knows? Whatever the reason, trying to run a guilt trip on Anne served no one.

Writers and writing can be a little like that. If your circle is wide enough and varied enough, you are bound to come across someone who is having a better time than you. While you’re there struggling with motivation and the curse of the adverbs, she or he will be dealing with a last minute meeting with an agent, or a publishing deadline to edit for. In the race to be the next JK Rowling or just to keep the wolf from the door, it’s tempting to slide into an attitude of: ‘When is it my turn?’

Well, newsflash – there are no turns. You write your best work and then rework it; you try whatever publication route appeals to you – self-publication, indie publication, working your way through The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook / The Writers’ Handbook – and you keep on going. And believe it or not, there will be someone else in the queue who is wondering why your piece of cake is so much bigger than theirs.

And if you’re fortunate enough to know someone who’s fortunate enough to be getting their just desserts, let them eat cake!



  1. Chloe says:

    Hear hear! I agree whole-heartedly, especially as one of my first successes in competitions was with a short story on the theme of 'A Slice of Life'!

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