Friday, 27 May 2016
Dear assembled members of the shed,
Thank you for all gathering here at such short notice for today’s meeting. Hopefully you received the agenda in advance but, for those who did not, I have brought some spare copies:
Shed Meeting, 27th May 2016
1. Update on book
2. Shed news, inc. feelings of envy concerning my neighbour’s shed
3. Poem about agenda item 2
So, firstly, the book. All is proceeding apace. Discussions are ongoing with Unbound and Random House as to how to make the book’s potential market as broad as possible. Apparently, there are worries that it may not appeal to the all-important ‘aged 11-85’ demographic. There are similar concerns over the book’s appropriateness for Sagittarians and for those people who hail from Grimsby. A series of focus groups will be conducted in order to explore how best to target these market segments.
I am pleased to say that the book has now reached the lofty heights of 194% funded, which is beyond my mildest dreams (and some of my dreams can be very mild). The only downside to all of this is that I have to do more things, such as audio recordings and poems, should it get to 200%. If you can do your best to play down all mention the book in public situations – so I can avoid having to do any additional work – that would be much appreciated.
Moving on to news of the shed. As you can see, it’s in a right state; broken-down lawnmowers, unwanted stepladders, abandoned ovens, shattered plant pots and rusty shears litter the interior; the window has been smashed by an unruly football; and the roof’s asphalt covering has come loose. Furthermore, there are now seven hundred of you to accommodate in here for these meetings. It really is a most inadequate shed:
What I would really like is one of those writer’s sheds that you read about in the weekend supplements. Somewhere, not for the storage of left-over tins of paint and bags of peat, but a place in which write critically-acclaimed literary masterpieces affording profound insights into what it is to be human. The kind of shed that Dylan Thomas had:
One of my neighbours, a few doors down, has a shed like that in her garden. Its light shines out most evenings as she works on her latest project which ‘redefines what modern literature might be’ (London Review of Books) or ‘provides a magnificent prism through which we might see ourselves for what we really are’ (Times Literary Supplement).
So here’s a poem about that.
Sheds: A Comparative Study
Your shed has a mahogany inlaid writing desk,
a sofa to relax on when in need of some rest,
an anteroom for critics and other literary guests;
my shed has bottles to control garden pests.
Your shed has dictionaries, encyclopedias and maps,
wi-fi and heating and hot and cold taps,
a typewriter (formerly Boris Pasternak’s);
my shed has compost bags infested with rats.
Your shed has a carpet and curtains and rugs,
biscuits, fruit tea, a Nespresso and mugs,
is covered in ivy and surrounded by shrubs;
my shed has twelve wicker gardening trugs.
No wonder your writing
is full of Profundity
and the Big Picture;
if your shed was my shed,
I’d win the Nobel Prize
So that concludes the formal agenda points. Any other business?