“What’s it on this time?” asked youngest daughter, with as much disinterest as you could fit into a short sentence.
“Necrophilia,” I answered, brightly.
“Who, apart from Jeremy Daimler, would want to read that?” she said, disinterest flipping smoothly to disgust.
I was about to point out that it would be a challenge, as Jeffrey Dahmer was dead and a ‘Like’ from him would open up all kinds of new and interesting horizons but on seeing her expression I maintained maternal silence.
“You should be writing stuff people want to read,” she replied, tartly.
“Such as?” I ventured, cautiously.
“People-,” she said using the sort of ex cathedra tones associated with the monarchy and BBC, “-Like to read about lifestyle issues.”
“Kitchens? Cars?” I suggested.
She scowled. “Make-up, health and relationships.”
“That’s what’s ‘in’?” I asked, waving air quotes.
“Nothing’s ‘in’ mum,” she snorted, waving the air quotes back.
Apparently, ‘in’ is no longer used by anyone under the age of fifty. Preferable phrases include ‘hot’, ‘trending’ and ‘Kardashians’. (I am still not sure whether the last is a noun or a verb.)
Perhaps it’s not just the subject matter I choose that’s dating me but the language I’m selecting. I put this to wise daughter. She sighed deeply. “You can’t just start literally dropping in phrases you’ve picked up from the Urban Dictionary. You have to use your own voice when you write, or no-one’s going to believe you.” (A small digression here on the usage of the word ‘literally’, as applied by my elder daughter. She is always, ‘literally dying’, as opposed to ‘figuratively dying’. It is a constant source of irritation, not just because it’s appalling grammar but it’s used as way of emphasising that commonplace events such as exhaustion, intoxication and personal liquidity are experienced with greater intensity by her than those around her.)
Intrigued at the possibility of increasing my readership, I grilled both daughters on what sort of topics would entertain, captivate and broaden the horizons of my audience. “Apart from necrophilia?” sneered the youngest. This sent both daughters off into a cackle session reminiscent of a ‘Dastardly and Muttley’ cartoon.
“Yes,” I replied, flatly.
“Well, you could try something that appeals to your age group.”
“Oh yes,” I replied, knowing full well where we were going.
“Hmm,” Youngest daughter placed a finger on her lips, in an effort to prove she was about to proffer heartfelt and honest thoughts. I knew better.
“How about make-up for the over fifties?”
So far, so good. “Yes, maybe,” I considered.
“You know, like how you have to buy your brushes from the home decorating aisle in B&Q,” shrieked the elder.
It had started.
“Like how instead of using concealer, you can adapt polyfiller to those…hard to fill in lines?” splurted the youngest.
Both idiots were now incapable of steady breathing and were clutching their sides, as their pithy humour reduced them to hysterics.
“Or maybe how you balance your reading glasses in that special way, so you can actually see the eye you’re working on.”
They were howling. No good was going to come from listening to further insults. I picked up my coffee, notebook and pride and headed for my office.
“I know, I know,” choked the eldest. “How about where to buy those special mom jeans. You know the ones that flare out…” She couldn’t speak. I felt obliged to assist. “Round the ankle?” I offered, curtly.
“No! Round the ass!” I left both creatures to their cauldron and retreated to the safety of my office.