Thursday, 13 December 2012

In which our Hero realises he has bitten off more than he can chew

It is certainly getting colder. Snow is not yet falling all around us, but the threat is omnipresent. Those who live outside the city come in cars bearing fresh powder. The smell is crisp and blue. And I have bitten off far more than I can chew.

The Murder Mystery plan was absolutely brilliant, because it combines two facets of something I quite enjoy, to whit: Making Things Up. This is not the same as Lying, because Lying is something wicked children do, while Making Things Up is something actors and authors do. I agree that the moral difference is sometimes negligible, but the payout is larger by several orders of magnitude.

In any case, it has only just come to my attention that what I've actually promised to do is write a murder-mystery novel in a week. No, not a week. In the five evenings before I ought to send my students their characters.

Tonight is evening three. So far I have three outlines and a timeline that would only please the Doctor. See below.

Pictured: Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...stuff.

This task is also driving home how egotistical I am, because for the life of me I cannot think of a single reason anyone would want to kill me. I rack my brains for hours, but at every turn I find the motive of this mysterious assassin utterly unlikely. I turned to a friend, and in short order I got the double whammy of jealousy and hatred as motive (and with the kind of response time that indicated she'd considered it before). Unsettling.

However, my hair has been judged as exceedingly attractive and far superior to the mop it was before, and although I now have very cold ears it is a price I pay stoically.

Pictured: Stoicism
Not pictured: Ears

A student has had the abstract for his paper accepted and we went through the introduction and conclusion to his paper together. Firstly, I'm incredibly proud of him, because this is his first paper and it's a work of sheer genius. I know this because it is utterly replete with words and phrases that by themselves I recognise but which, when strung together, flow past me in a veritable torrent of language. I sometimes recognise a whole phrase, but then it whips past me and I'm lost again. Grammatically it is perfect, but I fear that in terms of audience he is going for quality over quantity.

The final part of the day was a conference which started a half hour late - oh France, you deal with Father Time the same way you deal with all figures of authority; with utter contempt - and went on for two hours, aided and abetted by That Guy. Everyone knows That Guy. He goes to panels, conferences, anything with a question-answer format where you can quiz experts. He then uses these sessions to deliver a fifteen minute point which serves to do nothing but irritate every person in the room and force the panel to concentrate for fifteen minutes because this little sermon will not end with a question. Instead, That Guy will smirk slightly and ask "Don't you agree?"

If they are smart, the panel will say "Yes," and later people will pay fifty euros a head to beat That Guy up. If they are not, they will get involved by lowering themselves to That Guy's level. Cue a game of back-and-forth where the statements get longer, the questions are made up or the points don't matter. I might be thinking about something else.

It ended with drinks and canapés. I will give you this France. You do canapés very well.

Finally: I posted this last night on my Facebook page, but it's possible that you didn't see it. It's three minutes out of your life but I can guarantee they're worth it.

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