As Samuel Beckett famously said, “So. I wrote a thing.”

Right. I’ve written a book, then. I probably shouldn’t have, but it is, in any case, available for sale tomorrow. It is not a terribly important book as it is full of bad sex and largely absent of good politics. There is no noble reason to buy it, and I only recommend that you do so if you crave what may be a funny account of a breakup recovery.

These are the bones: a few years ago, I went completely fucking potty when my long-term partner gave me the sack. I wasn’t really expecting her to leave and even though her company had made me miserable, I missed it desperately. Anyhoo. In a moment of recklessness, I decided to go on one hundred dates inside a year to see if I could cheer myself up, stopping only if I found someone to love/make miserable.

I attended a literary “speed date”. I tried to fuck a Russian (a lifelong ambition). I invited myself to a BDSM beginner’s lunch. I talked to a guy who asked me to dress as a sheep. I went out with some exes. I learned that I could never enjoy the intimate company of persons who enjoy the music of Coldplay/the economic theories of the Chicago School. I also started going to a twelve-step program, and seriously considered becoming religious. These latter decisions had nothing to do with dating, but I *may* have picked up a handjob outside a church.

Obviously, I am not going to tell you if I found happiness etc. as this would not only diminish the small chance that you are going to buy my silly book, but it would also make the false point that “personal growth” was my aim. Which it was not. I was simply trying to survive a period in which I felt, at best, self-loathing and, at worst, a bit like I wanted to top myself. As can tend to occur after a breakup or divorce.

If there is a moral purpose to this book (there’s not, I was really just trying to crack jokes at my own emotional expense, and your actual expense) it is to counter eat-pray-love-ism. We don’t have to learn. We don’t have to grow. We just have to adapt if we want to survive. So, if you want a divorce protagonist who has no aim loftier than remembering to bathe herself, perhaps it might suit you. I should also say that my beloved cat features prominently in this text. This is a cat person book. It is also a book for people who have been dumped, but don’t have any money to go on expensive journeys of self-discovery, and even if they did, would not subject the people of India to their tantrums. Christ. Haven’t they been colonised enough?

Buy it. Don’t buy it. I have already had a go in my life at being famous and found it didn’t make me particularly happy, so I really don’t give much of a fuck. I mean, money would be nice, but I’ve given up on ever accumulating any of that. My publisher is quite nice, though. I’d like her to have some money, at least so she can publish other books. But, basically, don’t feel any pressure.

However. Do please feel pressure to attend one of my “bookstore appearances”. Can you imagine how fucking embarrassing it is to go to one of these things as an author and have three people show up? That happened to me. In 1999, I wrote a book about My Fascinating Depressive Disorder (don’t bother) and some deluded bookstore in Sydney’s North Shore invited me to spruik it. As I have never operated a Thermomix, I am very unpopular on Sydney’s North Shore. The PR guy called his boyfriend so he could pretend he was lining up to have the book signed. Thanks for that, Andy, and I hope you’re doing well.

I mean, please. This appeal to you is one strictly of individual compassion. You don’t have to like me, approve of me or even consider the purchase of this book. You just have to BE THERE. Please. Shit. I am a middle-aged angry Marxist lady without social skills. At least if you’re THERE, I will not automatically feel as though I have failed socially. Again. As I did, perhaps up to one hundred times while I was writing this ridiculous book, and for all my life.

Here are the dates. They are linked to booking information. PLEASE FUCKING COME.

Melbourne, Monday February 6

This event, 6pm at Readings in Carlton has sold out, apparently. But, you know. People will not fucking come. I know this, because those who RSVPed are largely my friends whom I personally nagged. As I probably didn’t turn up for their birthday party/iftar dinner due to my social anxiety/laziness, they are perfectly entitled to return the diss. So what I am saying is that if you happen to be at 309 Lygon St, Carlton, Victoria, 3053 at 6pm on Monday February 6, there will possibly be a seat for you. They also have awfully nice manners at Readings, Melbourne’s best bookstore, and are quite unlikely to throw you out.

It will be hosted by my generous friend Francis Leach, a well-regarded broadcaster and sports guy. So at least there will be someone there for you to like.

Sydney, Wednesday February 8

This event, 6pm at Gleebooks in Glebe, has not sold out. I take this very personally. I have a great fondness for this store, which is the one in which I first spent my own adult wages on books. I also applied for a job there once back when I was at USyd, and even though they sensibly didn’t give me one, they sent me a very nice note in reply. I had told the manager that I intended to be a writer one day, and he or she replied that they would certainly stock my books.

What I am saying is that in failing to attend this event, you are effectively shitting on the dreams of a lonely teenager.

My comrade Eden Riley, of the marvellous and quite unstruck edenland, has kindly agreed to host the event. She knows pain. AND SO WILL I IF YOU DO NOT FUCKING BOOK FOR THIS EVENT YOU SELFISH BASTARD.

Brisbane, Thursday February 9

This event at 6pm at Avid Reader in West End has not sold out. I take this quite personally, as I have long been charmed by a place that stubbornly only sells the books that it likes, and employs writers like the fantastically filthy Krissy Kneen.

I mean. Why do you hate me, Brisbane? Is it because I walked around The Wickham once in 1997 with my left tit hanging out for half an hour before a nice gentleman asked me to conceal it? I can assure you, this was not an intended affront to the fine homosensual gentlemen of that establishment, and I had simply forgot to put it away following its removal in the ladies.

BOOK YOU INSENSITIVE PRICK I AM DYING. This event will be hosted by the eminent ABC broadcaster, Paul Barclay, who will make every effort to steer conversation out of my trousers and into a broader social context.

 

Thank you very much for booking. Thank you for agreeing to “follow” my very tedious author page on Goodreads, which I just produced instead of doing my actual work. Thank you very much for deigning to read this silly book, available from tomorrow in electronic and printed form.

The rest of you can, in this case, get knotted, as I am feeling very self-absorbed and sensitive, after the fashion of lady memoir writers.

 

 

 

 

20 comments for “As Samuel Beckett famously said, “So. I wrote a thing.”

  1. January 24, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    For God’s sake Helen if you would make it easy for people with limited computer skills to actually share this damn post to FB they’d do it. I can’t buy the book because the age pension doesn’t extend to such fripperies. I will order from the library so if you’re lucky you might get about $1 from the lending fees.. But I do have friends who might buy it or at least go to Avid Reader in order to make a crowd.Will there be free food? That always attracts a busload of old people, though not too late at night.

    • Blair Denholm
      January 25, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Liz Johnston. You can do the old “cut and paste the link” and post it that way with t wee description. In fact, I might do so myself :)

    • Helen R
      January 25, 2017 at 10:49 am

      Hey, L. If you saw the post on Facebook, you could hit the “share” option. Otherwise, I probably *should* add one of those ugly buttons to my website. But this would require ten minutes yelling at my content management system!

  2. Sandra Kennett
    January 24, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Nothing ever comes to Adelaide except bicycles and men playing with leather balls sports.
    So disappointed that the city of churches isn’t on your agenda as there would have been a queue right up the mall, past the big silver balls, just to see you.

    • Helen R
      January 25, 2017 at 10:49 am

      This is, I am sure, completely untrue, Sandra.
      As I understand it, Adelaide has no major bookstore. Is this true?

  3. Valda Rubio
    January 25, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Of course Readings is sold out because Melbourne loves you. I loved you from the first day I heard you with Mikey on Triple J. I loved you more for the grief you expressed the more the morning after Kurt Cobain killed. I will, no doubt love this book too.

    • Helen R
      January 25, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Really, V. It’s mostly my friends who are coming!

  4. Yon Yonsen
    January 25, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I went to the Readings website to see if I could get this silly book from my local bookshop. Typed in Razer into the search box – and well, you try it.
    https://www.readings.com.au/search/results?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=razer&books=1&music=1&film=1
    I hope they have it by the time you come by for the talk.

    • Helen R
      January 25, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Well. That’s a little disappointing, but this *is* the first day of its availability, and there is a little note there saying “our stocks are updated overnight and the website may not immediately reflect this”, so I hold out hope. And faith that publishers generally get books where they are going on time!

  5. simon
    January 26, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    I have been in a stable relationship with a cat, Puss, for fourteen years now; prior to that I was in a similarly stable relationship with another cat, Maria, for twelve years. Call me a serial moggyist. I also think that a life without incessant laughter is not worth living. So your having given me two good reasons to buy your book, I will. Sorry, I’m standing you up on the Wednesday at Gleebooks. I have chemo on the Monday and couldn’t possibly run the risk of chucking up on your, or anyone else’s, new dress. Congrats on the publication.

    • Helen R
      January 27, 2017 at 11:42 am

      The chemo. Oh. Jaysus, S. Well. This deserves a freebie at least. Send me your postal address, using my email helen AT badhostess DOT com
      I should send an emotional health warning about the dear little cat in the book. Something sad happens.

  6. Jimmy
    January 27, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Goddammit Helen. I’ll be in a bloody Gippsland Emergency Room when you’re at Readings. Can’t you shift this thing to a more suitable time (for me?). I’ll even bring friends and social media thing the whole event. And definitely be counted on to laugh at appropriate cues and gasp when drama is required.

    Also whilst I’m demanding things that I have no right to, can you do an audiobook version where you read the book? Its all the rage (for me) and it helps time poor people (like me) who drive a lot because they decide to work in regional areas which is great for the soul but bad for the love life (in fact, it kills it outright for a gay bloke who has embraced the fact that he will die alone and be eaten by his pups).

    I hope this isn’t took much to ask after writing a book. That must have been some work. I loved your last book and will be getting this one. I just hope to get this one signed or something.

    In all seriousness though: chookas Helen. I love your work. And I remember when this idea first germinated on twitter. I’m glad you made it to print.

    • Helen R
      January 28, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      J. Yes. Some brave folks have asked me to record an audio version and I will start banging that out in my own dreary voice in the next few.
      I’m afraid I cannot shift the date with my dear friend Francis, as he and the wonderful shop Readings are fully booked. I, by contrast, am at my leisure to sign books. But fucked if I know how we’ll organise this. If you have a local bookstore where you’re planning to buy the thing, I could pop in and wack me Johanne Hancock?

      • Jimmy
        January 30, 2017 at 12:56 am

        Aw Helen. Your voice was one of three that got me out of bed and to a catholic high school in the morning. Dreary it is not!

        I reckon if your agent / publisher / you contacted the lovely ladies who love ladies that own the Sun Bookshop at Yarraville, my local indie book store, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to have you in for a signing. They are big on supporting local authors and they also like to have a bit of booze at the launches – so they’re always well attended. It does mean a trip west but apparently we are now a ‘hip’ suburb and Melbournians no longer fear a trip over the Westgate.

        Otherwise I’d be happy to buy a signed copy direct from you via PayPal or some other internet magic. I got my mother hooked on your last book with Keane (apparently you can turn a Catholic into a commie) so you’re guaranteed at least two sales from this family.

        Thanks!

        • Helen R
          January 30, 2017 at 1:55 pm

          I really can’t be trusted with any sort of transaction. But, hows about I go into Sun Books one day and sign some copies? I will ask the publisher’s sales team if this is not a terrible and impolite thing to do.

          • Jimmy
            February 2, 2017 at 11:20 pm

            The West would welcome you :)

  7. Tony
    January 30, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Hey Helen,

    I live in Ottawa Canada and if you have a book signing here I will absolutely attend. I would even bring you a nice bottle of wine.

    • Helen R
      January 30, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      How very kind, Tony. I have never been in your impressive nation and would love to attend. However, I feel the case that “Tony is going to buy it” will not be sufficient for me to provoke the publisher’s necessary interest!

  8. February 1, 2017 at 8:49 am

    I am pleased to report that the Brisbane event is now sold out too! I was lucky enough to nab a ticket early so I shall be there! This is obviously great news for you, Helen, because I am awesome. (But seriously, have loved you and your work since the 90s and I can’t wait to finally see you in person.)

    • Helen R
      February 1, 2017 at 11:12 am

      I have long admired your work, too, Rowena. Especially writing of the type we see here which has me as its topic.
      Srs. Thanks so much for booking.

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