I was out having a coffee with my partner Spanner this morning when I bumped into an old acquaintance. She joined us and we went through the motions.
"What have you been up to?"
"Same old same old. What about you?"
"Nothing much. You know, just stuff."
Mmm. What next? I decide to tell her I'm writing a ROMANCE novel.
"Oh, really?" She smiles, one eyebrow raised quizzically (I wish I could do that). "What's it about?"
"Well, it sort of revolves around the hero and heroine and how they get together in the end." I shuffle uncomfortably in my chair.
But then I am saved when she informs me that her good friend has just finished writing an 80,000-word novel.
"My friend says publishers won't take anyone seriously until they've written 80,000 words. How long is your book?"
"It's a romance novel, so it's 50,000 words. But I haven't quite finished."
She shifts the focus of the conversation with a new revelation. "I'm writing a book."
"Wow," I say, impressed. "What's it about?"
"I can't tell you. I haven't really started it yet. I just need to find the time."
"Oh, OK. Fair enough."
I look across the table at Spanner, the taciturn handyman who only reads books about boats and prefers films with subtitles. And I wonder if he is the only person left on the planet who has no desire to write a novel.