Despite being a strong, confident woman, there are times I still succumb to my childhood fears. Not far beneath the fragile façade of this supposedly mature and independent individual you will find my inner 5 year old, building imaginary towers of Lego, sucking her metaphorical thumb and dancing around the figurative rooms of her mind to Karma Chameleon in her gold cat suit. It’s her voice that tells me to run and hide in the bathroom whenever I hear the disembodied jingle of the ice cream van (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang taught me at a young age not to trust strange men offering sugary treats) and it’s her who tells me I am going to die unless I dive under the duvet during a thunderstorm (which poses a particular challenge during the working day). It was during one such meteorological tempest earlier this week that I found myself in need of urgent distraction, to divert me from impending death by lightening. This blog is the result of the subsequent terror-induced creative surge: based on a childhood game of “let’s pretend”, I found myself wondering “what if…”
If I was a book, I would be… David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I accept that this is a confusing choice – I am not a boy, have never had an evil step-father and (contrary to what some of you may think) was not born in Victorian England. My choice is based purely on the parallels I see in my own personal growth and journey from naivety to maturity. Plus like much of Dicken’s work, it is beautifully articulated, quite dark in places but overall pretty funny and entertaining. Just like me. (Humour me on this one, Bookaholics).
If I was an author, I would be… Caitlin Moran (at least I would in my dreams). I am in awe of the way her work balances the delivery of strong feminist themes with a brilliant sense of humour, something I would love to be able to achieve one day. She also made it onto the BBC Woman’s Hour Power List in 2014. If that isn’t living the dream, I don’t know what is.
If I was a fictional character, I would be… Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Lizzy is feisty, articulate and knows how to rock a bodice and bonnet –we are practically doppelgangers. She also values family and female friendship far above the fripperies of society, reflected in me through the way I have always chosen a quiet drink with one of my girls over an over-priced night out at an over-rated club. I have a feeling she can dance better than me, mind.
If I was a genre, I would be… biography. Biography is about giving shape to the stories of people’s lives and I often hear a narrative voice in my head that attempts to give meaning to my experiences. Sometimes it can be light-hearted and bring much-needed comedy to embarrassing situations; other times it adopts a more ominous tone, usually when walking alone in the dark. (Imagine a Crimewatch-type voiceover explaining that “despite using this same path every day for years, this November night was the last time anyone ever saw Becky”). What can I say? It’s a gift and a curse.
If I was a bookshop, I would be… Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street in London. Literally one of my favourite places on earth, this beautiful Edwardian building is elegance personified – just like me. (Why are you laughing?) With stained glass windows, oak galleries and the classiest of interior decoration, its various rooms offer a multitude of different personalities to suit diverse book browsers – in the same way I present differing dispositions depending on the company I am keeping. It has something to offer everyone – a trait I like to pride myself on possessing.
What about you, Bookaholics? What would you be? If you are struggling for creative inspiration, I highly recommend cowering under the duvet…