I sat with a mentor the other day in order to discuss the Ebay brief. She asked me what made me special; what only I could sell.
“Oh God,” was my immediate response.
And after a long pause, “Well, this is depressing.”
The mentor, to her eternal credit, persisted.
After some gentle probing from her, and several anxious glances towards the, ‘We Sell or We Die’ poster from me, I told her I loved stories. I practically lived off them as a child.
Growing up, my family had an old weekend cottage in Devon that was so run-down the electricity barely worked. With no radio, and certainly no TV, these weekends were really rather Amish.
I told the mentor my quintessentially British tales – of finding maggots in blackberries, squabbling over books and playing ridiculous pranks on one another.
“Laughter!” The mentor, rather suddenly, said. “You could sell laughter.”
To be completely honest I was quite worried at this stage. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about my laughter, or hers. I was really hoping it wasn’t mine – any old fool can laugh!
Luckily, the mentor continued. She asked me for more stories about my childhood. So I told her about the time my sister and I had snuck up to the attic and opened all the Christmas presents…in September. My Mum insists that she found us buried in wrapping paper, clutching crackers and sporting little paper party hats.
Then there were the teenage years spent at three very English, very proper, boarding schools. (One of which, funnily, the Amish travelled to with Channel 4)
By some miracle my friends and I weren’t expelled, although the Gestapo were usually hot on our tails.
One rainy afternoon I decided to scale the roof in order to install a string phone into my best friend’s room, so we could communicate Gestapo whereabouts. My housemistress caught me, of course, but my friends were always hiding my mattress up there so she wasn’t too surprised.
Every time Marc mentions string telephones – surprisingly often by the way – I am reminded of our beloved phone and the ‘answer phone messages’ my friends would write down for me when I was out. Unsurprisingly, the ‘Family Planning Centre’ was quite the regular caller!
So where am I going with all this?
That my memories inspired me to create Bernard, my imaginary friend currently listed on eBay: (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/
I relisted Bernard and his favourite T-shirt, made him a profile on spareroom.com, and had an excruciatingly embarrassing interview with The Tab Leeds (http://leeds.tab.co.uk/2014/
Although Bernard’s bidding war hasn’t exactly taken off like it did the first time, I am ever hopeful his character will sell fortune as well as fame.