a certain age, you actually worry less about being seen to be fussy. Case in point has to be a Nice Cup of Tea/Coffee.
I'm sure I never used to care much about the qualities of a cuppa. If someone asked "d'you want one" I'd nod and drink whatever was placed in front of me - but then in my youth there wasn't a great deal of Tea consumption going on - there were other beverages far more enjoyable around, weren't there?
So nowadays I don't fret that there might be raised eyebrows from the Tea Provider when I pipe up with "can I put my own milk in please... I'm a bit fussy" - because, seriously, what CAN you say to that? I know what I like and I know how I like it, thanks. No apologies necessary. We can't all like the same things, otherwise where would the queue for Russell Brand end...? although even he could do with (in my opinion) being cross-bred with Johnny Depp for optimum effect - but then that's just me.
So what does my Frankensteinian musing of a Brand/Depp combo have to do with writing I hear you ask?
Well, it struck me that the fussiness over how my tea should taste, equates to precisely the same in terms of how I like my books to 'taste' - both in reading and writing.
In my youth, I would never have hurled a book across the room at warp speed and punch the air victoriously as it landed in the only place I considered fit for consumption (WPB). Nope, I would slog on through, determined to read every last word because after all, if it was deemed worthy of publication, there must surely be something wrong with ME if I didn't like it. I was clearly literately sub-normal if I wasn't enjoying it. Even though I drew absolutely no pleasure from it whatsoever. The Muppetry of youth (mine I mean - you were probably far better balanced as a child).
Of course the 'slogging on through' mentality was probably a throwback from schooldays and English Lit lessons, where you HAD to read to the end of the book/play/mind-numbingly dreary stanzas because that's what you were there to do. Throwing Henry IV Part I into the bin for it's laborious qualities would surely have resulted in a fate far worse that the wrath of the teacher. But I digress.
For these days I have no such concerns. If a book doesn't quite give me the 'taste' my literary buds are hankering for, then I have to place it on a 3-Step Programme (for it's own good, of course).
1. It is allowed to 'rest' for a while, whilst it considers it's options. During which time I might take up another book in an attempt to rid myself of the sour taste the other has left behind.
2. Then it is given a second chance, whereby I will try to overlook dreary, convoluted, un-credible sections which irritated me in the first place and skip to the meaty stuff. But if this skipping becomes too cardio-vascular and to the detriment of the story, causing me to lose the plot....
3. Then it's a one way-ticket to the File in the corner of the room I'm afraid.
Same with the Work-in-Progress. If it's boring me, not getting the taste buds salivating, making me yearn for a spot of hoovering or (very bad sign) dusting, then it's abandoned. Forget the crash trolley, it's too late. The WIP becomes an RIP.
Blame it on my age but I know what I like.
And life's too short to put up with a less than lip-smacking brew, don't you think?