Ashley Lister is Anal
Several times this week I’ve had people say the word ‘anal’ to me. I’ve even had people pay me the ultimate accolade and say, “Ashley Lister is anal.”
If I was of a different disposition, I suppose it would be possible to construe this as a worrying sleight on my personality. The term carries connotations of ‘anally retentive’ and it can often be used as a contraction to describe someone possessing the symptoms of such neuroses. However, I choose to believe that those people who have described me in such a way are simply saying: Ashley Lister is as much fun as bum sex. And, because I know bum sex is a lot of fun, I consider that be quite a compliment.
(Could American readers please note here that the word ‘bum’ in this context refers to the English usage of the word and implies an individual’s rear or bottom or derriere, rather than a homeless person or vagrant – although it’s conceded, in consensual situations, that sort of bum sex can also be satisfying).
I think the first time I was called ‘anal’ this week occurred whilst I was re-alphabetising my T-Shirt collection. Technically, I know, these should all be filed under T (for T-shirt). However, since colour-coding the collection (to the inverted rainbow system) I have taken to subcategorising them alphabetically dependent on the wording of the logo/design emblazoned across the front. This small chore necessitated my being in the bedroom and so, when my partner mumbled the word, ‘anal’ I merely saw it as a polite invitation for a bum sex nooner.
Yes. I admit that I do have a tendency to over-organise some aspects of life. But this is only because I’m incredibly lazy and want to take advantage of every time-saving device at my disposal. Alphabetising books, CDs, DVDs, T-Shirts and alphabetti-spaghetti means that I don’t have to waste unnecessary time searching for things.
To illustrate, I should explain that my library is divided into two separate areas of fiction and non-fiction. The fiction is alphabetised by author and then title but it’s also broken down into two discrete sections of good books and those written by Dan Brown. The non-fiction is divided into categories based on the Dewey System with each category alphabetised by title and then author.
It’s an orderly system and time-saving too. It’s so time-saving that many people have commented it must leave me plenty of time for bum sex. At least, I think that’s what they were suggesting.
A lot of people use the word ‘anal’ as though it’s a bad thing. Admittedly these people are usually the ones who couldn’t find their arse with both hands and a flashlight. But somehow, the name and its negative connotations tend to stick as an insult.
Whenever I’m writing a lengthy novel, I take the time and trouble to make notes about each character’s physical description. This means, when I return to that character 50 pages later, I can be sure that they have consistent eye and hair colour and that their important statistics remain the same throughout the story. Is this anal? Possibly. However, it’s saved me from the embarrassment of wandering eye-colour and a few other afflictions that can cause acute suffering to authors who leave these details to the fallible resource that is human memory.
Similarly with submissions. Whenever I send a submission to a publisher or editor, I make a note in my diary. I make a note of what I sent and when I sent the item. I also make a note in my diary for six weeks after the submission’s deadline date so I can issue follow-up correspondence if the need arises.
Does this make me anal?
Of course it does. However, as this afternoon’s bum sex nooner has once again proved: anal doesn’t always have to be negative.
“The Write Stuff” © 2009 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.