Why do I actually do this?

What keeps me sitting down and writing articles? What’s the point? I could play golf, take the dog out, cook or take a spin on my motorbike instead. I deliberately chose only activities that I enjoy for the comparison. Not things like cleaning windows, chasing clients on the phone or arguing with insurance companies. So why? Okay, there’s a bunch of nice people I’ve known for ages that it’s fun to “work”with. You also develop your personal writing style, your own way of expressing yourself, your precision and so on (we’re talking about the punchlines here, not the approach shots). Is that all? Hey – the alternatives are mentioned above and they are really good ones. So why? Probably it has been obvious to everyone except me. I can already hear the chorus of heartfelt compassion at the next Harlequin meeting.

What gave me this idea in the first place? Once again, an encounter with the major bookseller whose name must not be mentioned, that can hardly be surpassed in terms of incompetence. In this case it’s not about the encounter itself, but about the fact that it was the source of this insight. In order to understand why, however, it has to be explained in broad outline. No, perhaps not. I don’t want to. – Oh all right, you persuaded me!

When you look at it, the major bookseller screwed up. First they promised something in writing, then they revoked it, then they pretended that the written promise never existed, then they blamed us as authors and, last but not least, they let us know that they no longer wanted to be bothered with it. This prompted me to write an email, which in turn prompted my fellow author Bernie to say: “You can’t send it like that”. He said it was too personal and too condescending, which in essence he was quite right about, because that’s exactly how it was supposed to be. Nevertheless, he managed to dissuade me from sending the email, which was not that difficult, because he had an idea that was much better. But that’s not the point, the point is that talking to Bernie made me realise why I’m doing this too. So why I sat down and spent more than an hour tweaking an email to a person called Brigitte, who in no way deserves so much attention from me.

Yes, I know. You all knew that a long time ago. It’s probably also been discussed umpteen times when I wasn’t around, or worse, I can’t remember it. It’s so trivial that I hardly dare write it down, I’m even considering leaving it at that and not even mentioning this self-evident fact, but then what’s the point of all this text so far? A psychological experiment to test how long someone reads without the bang at the end?  A Godot-like text, so to speak?

Nothing of the sort. It’s just so obvious and I haven’t been able to put my finger on it until now. Humour is a coping strategy. I’ve been making fun of ‘resilience strategies’ for years, railing against the incompleteness of this idea of coping with uncertainty, and I use one myself. Ok – unconsciously, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. Shame on me.

Original text: RGE
English translation: BCO


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