The quality of realness

In Books
February 15, 2006

I have a cough. And a cold. And a sore throat. So does everyone else in London, I guess. It’s just a February thing. And the thing about a cough and a cold and a sore throat is that they’re all extremely real. There’s no denying you have them when you have them. There’s all the sneezing and wheezing and pain to keep reminding you. Here they are. Real.

It’s interesting to me to compare the undeniable reality of mild illness with the, I find, strangely deniable nature of being-about-to-publish-a-book. Apparently, it’s going to happen two weeks from today. But it’s not like there’s something constantly there to remind me of it, not a strange physical tick or a bodily sensation. While my cold is very real, my book-publication is very abstract.

That is, until I hear something like this on the radio:
[click on Wednesday’s play. Listen to the first minute or so. I guess this’ll only work until next Wednesday.]

I feel like the Velveteen Rabbit. My realness is externally determined. If Radio 4 thinks so, I must be real.

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