"It's all fluff!"
In year 10, as part of our GCSE coursework, I was required to write a short story.
"The title of the piece must be "Monday", but it can be about anything you want, anything at all."
Excitement fluttered through my stomach, and I spent the rest of the school day obsessing over which idea I was going to pick. We had been told to write down 5 openers to different stories, and my head was almost audibly buzzing as I thought of all the possibilities. I love making up stories. It's like making absolutely anything you can think of possible. Your own little world. Anyway, I digress...
That same night, I shut myself away in my room and scribbled out pages and pages of notes, and even some complete stories. Nothing could stop me, not even my Mother who shouted me down for dinner and tried to entice me with the ice cream.
The next day, I took my crumpled up notes to my English teacher, and watched with nervous anticipation as he skimmed through them, squinting as he tried to make out words that had been smudged by chocolatey fingers. (Well, I wasn't about to turn down ice cream was I?) As he finished, he sighed.
"Well, I love your enthusiasm Lucy, and your writing is decent...but it's all fluff."
My cheeks flushed as he carried on.
"This one, about the angel who crashes to earth in the middle of the street, that has promise, but why on earth is he talking to this woman? Why hasn't she taken him to the authorities? Why has she fallen in love with him? Are these all love stories? You should try and think outside of your comfort zone, and try something hard hitting instead."
With his words ringing in my ears, I went home that night and wrote a story about an English prisoner of war, who is held by a (secretly Jewish) Nazi officer who lets him escape in exchange for his silence. I wrote the piece in one night and I didn't edit or even reread it before handing it to my teacher the next week.
"See, you are a beautiful writer when you put your mind to it!" He was happy with the story, and a few weeks later he gleefully handed me my grade - A*. Unfortunately, I wasn't happy. I liked the story about the officers, and I enjoyed writing the twist and looking up swear words in German to drop throughout it, but I found it boring. My own story, and I found it boring.
As a blogger, and hearing the words "too commercial" thrown around, I spend a lot of time thinking back to what my year 10 English teacher said to me. At the time, I hated those words - "Its all fluff." I knew exactly what he meant by them - There was no deep meaningfulness to my writing, I had simply wrote something happy...a fluff piece. It would put a smile on someones face, but it wouldn't make them think deeply about anything.
Now, however, I think about those words and I think - He is right, but that's OK.
This world is such a serious place. It can be harsh, frustrating and sometimes unjust, and at those times a little fluff might be all we need. Just a 5 minute read that will put a smile on our faces, and make us feel like we aren't crazy or alone. We need the fluff to get us through the day. We need the fluff when our toddlers throw spaghetti onto our new white blouse. We need the fluff when the sink is clogged up and there's a weeks worth of washing up to do. We need the fluff when the country starts to go to pot (*sob, still not over Brexit). We need the fluff when we've been out on a bad date. We need the fluff when the water bill is unnecessarily high again. We need the fluff when our Mothers, or Mother-in-Laws decide to interfere with our lives again. We need the fluff when our diets are put on hold for another week. We need the fluff when we're waiting in a doctors waiting room for the second time in one week We need the fluff...always.
There are a lot of bloggers, some that I am lucky enough to consider friends, that can write so beautifully about the issues of every day life, offer guidance and counsel, and sometimes persuade us all to take good hard looks at ourselves and the society that we live in, and to those people - I congratulate and solute you, and will continue to read your words in awe of your fabulousness and way with words, but I cannot do it. It's not for me.
After all, what's so wrong with being commercial anyway?
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