Today, I am mostly envious of Petite Anglaise.
The English blogger living in Paris has almost replaced JK Rowling at the top of my list of "Women of whom I am most insanely jealous and wish to be", in the style of the popular 1992 film "Single White Female". I have both admired and hugely envied the success of JK for many years now. Is there more perfect a life than spending your days inventing clever and entertaining plots to enchant children and bewitch publishers, while amassing more money than the Queen in the process? Well, perhaps not the Queen. But certainly Brian May.
We all know the fairytale rags-to-riches story of JK Rowling, which is almost as famous as her novels. A struggling single mother with a prodigious writing talent and a gift for storytelling, she wrote much of Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone in a cafe because she couldn't afford to heat her flat. It is the fact that there are so many similarities between JK Rowling and myself that leads to my envy, you see. I am a single mother. And I can't afford the heating bills, really. And....well, sadly that's the end of the likeness, which is possibly why she has made about 729345 gazillion pounds from her writing and I haven't. But that is really a mere detail in the grand scheme of things.
And now Catherine Sanderson, another single mother and the author of the well-known and extremely popular Petite Anglaise blog, has stirred my green-eyed monster. Catherine was unceremoniously sacked from her PA job in the Paris offices of the private client accountants Dixon Wilson last year because they objected to her blog, and is now working on a two-book deal for Penguin, said to be worth half a million pounds. Her blog was the inspiration for this one, after I stumbled across Petite Anglaise from a link in the Daily Telegraph (which I don't habitually read, I hasten to add, although I don't recall why I was perusing their website on that occasion) about a week ago. Petite Anglaise is elegant, mature and interesting, so quite obviously I haven't yet successfully emulated it.
So here is another woman with whom I have much in common, yet whose success eludes me. We are both of an age, both single mothers to young children....both, um.... Hm. Well ok, the Trent and Mersey canal isn't quite the equal of the romantic Seine, and she has a daughter and I have a son, and my writing isn't really a patch on hers, and... Wait a moment; there's a common theme coming through here, in that both women I have discussed are far superior to me in terms of their writing ability and natural talent. But then let's be sensible; you can't draw a safe conclusion from only two examples, can you? So that's probably irrelevant. And of course, I am ignoring the enormous amount of stress that her sacking and subsequent 'outing' must have caused Catherine, because that is what unreasonable, bitter people like myself do.
Despite my irritation that I too am not earning millions of pounds from scribbling a few words here and there when I have a moment spare from living a fascinating life in the French capital (because we all know that writing a book is THAT easy, obviously) I must admit to taking a certain feeling of pride and inspiration from reading about Catherine Sanderson, as I always have from JK Rowling. These women do much to dispel the dismal stereotype of the single mother, and for that, I truly thank them.