|At least I'm in good company ...|
The big moment finally arrives … "Sign it? No problem!" Smiling rather smugly I pick up my pen, open my book at the flyleaf and then pause: is a ballpoint pen really the thing? Should it be fountain pen? No, that takes ages to dry and smudges easily … compromise is reached with a rollerball.
Properly equipped, I pause yet again, pen tip hovering uncertainly above the paper. What to write? Best wishes is a bit formal and love from is too familiar. Some witty epithet perhaps? Mind goes blank: chewing on end of pen doesn’t help. Maybe just a signature then? Hmmm.
And then, finally, the pen descends …
I look at what I’ve just written. It looks awful. All those hours spent practising writing my name, covering whole pages during moments of boredom in school lessons (and don’t tell me you didn’t do it too), in preparation for just this moment and yet it still looks horrible. Other people have beautiful handwriting, and their inscriptions are a positive adornment to the front pages of books. Penny Dolan did a beautiful one on a copy of her brilliant book A Boy Called Mouse – both the sentiment and the appearance – for my godson recently. When I sign a book, it feels like I’ve defaced it: mutilation rather than added attraction.