There are people like me – who troll their way through life. And there are those who are good at everything (just about). Mrs Rambling Nappa used to work with a distinguished surgeon, who was also a qualified architect, who was widely travelled and spoke fifteen languages (most fluently). I seem to remember that he was also a lay preacher or something, virtually built his house, and on, and on.
I’m rambling on about this (enviously) because I recently had one of those “I wish I could write like that” moments when reading an article in The Spectator about Suffolk of all things. Try this:
“But then in this last year Suffolk and I started seeing more of each other. Tentatively at first. I spent some time in Newmarket painting portraits of horsemen under protestant blue skies…”
“Meanwhile my dates with Suffolk were coalescing into something of, if not a ‘journey’, then at least a ‘character arc’: sleeping off a wedding in an Elveden graveyard; kissing a girl on a roof; bareback-riding with under-10s across potato field in perfect magenta bloom; the low September sun lens-flaring off a lake and across the stirring silhouette of my girlfriend; losing a few rounds of ‘Escape & Die’ to the sheep; making friends with smoker exiles outside A-road pubs in the bitter Christmas cold: and all against a year of party-blasted dawns imprinted straight into the amygdala, a misty North Sea radiance fading up over crumbling cliffs…”
Wow! I am supremely jealous of that kind of skill with words. And who wrote them? Someone called Thomas Leveritt. I googled him and (to quote) found out that he is half-American, half-British, and 32. He has won the Carroll Medal for Portraiture from the UK's Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and twice been runner-up at the National Portrait Gallery's BP Competition. He has a CV that looks like it ran over an improvised explosive device (his words), with pieces of soldiering, law, computer programming, import-export, film production, signmaking, and teaching scattered all over the place. No matter where you come from, he has a slightly different accent. He published a novel in February 2008 variously described as 'dazzling' (The Guardian), 'crazed and hilarious' (New Statesman), 'radiat[ing] a certain clued-up, slacker intelligence' (Metro).
Damn him! I guess I’ll have to buy his book.