Tuesday, April 9, 2013



The illustration is the logo of the Flat Earth Society—but, of course, you knew that.

File:FESlogo.gifNo, I haven’t suddenly lost it—as best I can determine. I’m merely writing about my obsession with flat surfaces; and how this eccentricity tends to give me a very particular outlook on life.

Yes, I did consider using the word ‘peculiar’ instead of ‘particular, but, fundamentally, I believe my concerns are rational (in the context of being a writer).

For instance, if I enter a room and there happens to be a Van Gogh on the wall—and I like the man’s work—I will give it scant attention until I have scoured the room for flat surfaces. Whereupon I will try and work out how to steal it. Mind you, I’m not preoccupied with just any kind of flat surface. Primarily, I tend to look for tables or desks which I can use to write on—and shelving for books, files, and papers. I do this even if I am adequately provided for at home. One never knows. Writing is scarcely a stable occupation.

It is an unusual obsession, I will grant you, but I submit it is entirely reasonable in the context of my profession. We writers need such things—and the world—shame on it—does not seem to appreciate that fact. Indeed, where such resources do exist, they are frequently wrong in some way. Tables are set at the kind of heights which will give you terminal back ache. Shelves are designed for china ornaments or not adjustable. If I was king I would make it a crime to own shelves which were not adjustable to varying book heights; and people who produced wobbly tables would be shot frequently and often.

I loathe, hate and detest wobbly tables, and am amazed how many of them there are. In fact, whenever I encounter a table or desk—say in Office Depot while buying paper—I normally check out the flat surfaces in the furniture department and tend to be thoroughly depressed at what I find. We live in a wobbly world. This fact may explain a great deal.

Do you know I wrote much of my first book, GAMES OF THE HANGMAN, with the aid of an oak coffin lid? It was agreeably solid, stable, and flat.

Death may have its downside, but it doesn’t appear to be wobbly.

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