The shovel list.

I am a happy person. I am relentlessly optimistic in the face of disappointment. I dance through life with a pair of rose-tinted glasses superglued to my face. I am hopeful to the point of idiocy e.g. when I wake up to the sound of torrential rain, I still hold out hope that when I pull up the blind I will be greeted by at least a rainbow, if not animated bluebirds tweeting.

But this doesn’t mean I don’t get cross. No, I don’t sweat the small stuff, the stuff I absolutely cannot change. But there’s still stuff that riles me. In fact, where many of friends have their “happy board” i.e. a list of things to cheer them up when they are down (kittens, chocolate, amusing memes featuring monkeys) I have what I am now (in honour of Marian Keyes) terming my “shovel list”. In other words, things I hate so much I would like to hit them very hard with a shovel. To wit:

  1. Misplaced apostrophes.
  2. Dog poo. (Or rather, owners who do not pick up dog poo, as I am pretty sure that if I hit the poo hard with a shovel I’d get it all over me).
  3. The term LOL. Particularly when added randomly at the end of a sentence e.g. I’m tired LOL. What does that even MEAN? You’re laughing because you’re tired? Are you crazy?
  4. Too much milk in my tea despite my repeated request to just show carton to cup.
  5. The fact that nine-hole Dr Martens boots do not fit me however many times I try to squeeze my chubby feet into them.
  6. Come Dine With Me.
  7. Shrugging cynicism.

And that last one is, I guess, the point. That what matters is passion – whether it’s about something you adore or despise. There’s nothing more depressing than someone saying: “Oh, nothing changes, why bother.” Or, to put it in simpler terms, “Whatever”. No, NOT whatever. Something. Anything. Stand up for yourself. Speak your brains. Tell the world what you love, and hate. (Go on, what do you hate? What’s on your shovel list? I want to know…)

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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