Sept. 27, 2021

S1 Ep23: Rosie Wilby, a writer's room zoom AND A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

This week we've got a big announcement, a great interview with Rosie Wilby, author of The Breakup Monologues, and there's also a rather sizeable announcement. Oh, did I mention we're announcing something? That's in there too.
Find out more about our fabulous guest here

You can get her even fabulouser new book here

And listen to her ridiculously fabulous (though not quite as fabulous as ours) podcast here

Have a go at writing for an hour with the, um, writers hour

And finally, get all the details of our BIG ANNOUNCEMENT here
 Music by Dano songs


you're listening to the failing writers podcast

well done chris field house in wolverhampton you're our listener of the week yay to everyone else listening come on you need to up your game you really do

is it me or is this a massive vibe of like excitement it really is i'm so excited right now i can barely contain myself dave's clacson really got me there yeah by the way why are we excited because we've got a big announcement coming up john announcement john the beginner big announcement coming up later on in the year we're saving that for the end i think we should but we're gonna do like a massive episode of long tease because we're mean like people will just fast forward through the middle and yeah maybe yeah we won't say which is fine i assume that's what they do anyways yeah i think that still counts towards listens so oh who cares um but yeah big announcement coming up at the end of the show so stay tuned everybody also coming up today which is equally exciting but probably doesn't warrant a claxson we've got uh maybe just a we've got an interview with um rosie will be yeah you can't clack some women these days

would you probably would actually yeah to be fair dave probably would yeah cracks in anybody oh my you've never been out on a night out with dave beard it's just a constant constant dave stop classing in oh just all the time what hey he's helping me with the service at the bar all of a sudden

he's a nightmare he's a nightmare so yeah that's a good reason not to fast-forward through the rest of the middle of the show isn't it really yes fantastic interview with rosie very interesting it gets quite serious and deep in places actually as well doesn't it did didn't it yeah which is very us i feel that's very us that's what we kind of try and do isn't it really get to this so yeah we're quite sort of serious not superficial silliness and stupid jokes we really get to the deep stuff so that's what we're all about it's not all gunge and and loud noises is it this doesn't saturday morning television serious journalism um so yeah listen to rosie talking about uh sex rooms later in the show that's a good that's a good teeth um which no doubt do you get your collaxing out for that dave as well or i might i should do you have a special sex class there should be one for that might put people off a sex too much detail we'll leave that too much time yeah there's an interview too much got my old factory glands going quite as much oh anyway moving swiftly on moving swiftly on um yes before that before that we have to because i don't think we did last week we have to ask the question the most important question in the world of writing right now what have you been writing this week lads tommy you go well we can answer that jointly can't we this week really yes john tricked us into being in a virtual room did didn't he so the other week we talked about doing uh john had done a a writer's hour hour was that obviously it's called the round yes he just kept zoomed into a like a room full of virtual room full of people ignoring you and writing yeah and we all did it together didn't we it seemed like a bit of a silly idea but we thought we'd try um so we kind of set ourselves a task because we were going to write some poetry for for one of the episodes wasn't it as a challenge and there was a poetry competition that had the deadline of the same day yes it was booked in to do the so there's kind of pressure on deadlines that made it exciting didn't it yeah so we thought we'd do an an hour in there and see if it was in theory we were supposed to get the poetry done in an hour but yeah that didn't really happen did you what what was the competition called again ooh uh was it the writers for writers online is online and it was for a trivision that's the warner trivision yes what is it trevorson john well a trivison uh i'll just quickly google it is a it's a six stanza uh poem isn't it and each stanza is three lines yes uh i believe yes especially just six sentences isn't it yeah but edited to look a bit like poetry yeah it was originated by william carlos williams willie carlos oh wcw oh hey what was he like i don't know read some of his poems and maybe he'll find out what it was like yeah so did you not actually finish yours in the session well i did i did come up with uh six stanzas of three lines but i totally changed it afterwards right okay so in theory i did write something in that text he did he did the found he did the base work the foundations obviously yeah exactly i didn't change that much how did you find the experience though because john you've done it before but tom how did you find the whole writer's hour experience i still maintain it is a little bit weird that's not to say i didn't enjoy it but um i got a little bit distracted at times just kind of flitting around because it was like about 150 people in there maybe you know maybe more quite a lot weren't there and i am i just like being nosy and just kind of yeah looking at people and seeing what room they're in we did stuff and things we didn't really crack on for a while did it was a lot of texting each other with our with our stupid suppositions about the lives of the other people in the zoo yeah yeah yeah what they were really up to which is you know very immature and unproductive but um in places was quite funny i was fortunate all of that went into my junk folder so i didn't see it until the end so i actually was a good boy in class who concentrated presumably you wrote a couple of poems buddy in that time no uh i wrote about three and a half three and a half poems dave that's brilliant no no three and a half lines um yeah yeah i just i felt really self-conscious it's like all these people looking at even though they're not looking at you any more than you're looking at them although i did spend a bit of time looking at him yeah yeah i i don't know i did feel self-conscious but having said that i did do nothing other than write for a whole hour i was totally focused on writing i didn't look at my phone i didn't go make a cup of tea i didn't walk around playing darts i did so for what it was supposed to be it absolutely worked yeah and it was free so totally worth it but yeah i think um weird but ultimately does what it says on the label you feel self-conscious enough to actually crack on and do some work i think that's the uh that's the thing isn't it yeah right it's quite good yeah every time i thought about doing something else it's like no no no no will someone can see point at you and write in the chat box what's dave bear doing yeah i did do a few things like i i found myself over exaggerating uh some mannerisms so when i sort of i would i'd be writing something and then i go oh that's not right but i felt like because people were watching i felt like i had to make a big deal

right totally misunderstood that oh start again so yeah i don't know if that was good or bad but i wrote half of what i was supposed to write in an hour that's not bad yeah how do you how did you find the actual i mean clearly it didn't just flow out of you but how did you find the actual writing of poetry well um i i just i disappeared at my own arse for a while uh i found out that's what you do with poetry a little yeah that's the good thing about it so my sort of my plan was i sort of i kind of had a thought of what i was going to write about and then i just wrote down six just little bullet points of like the argument of what i was gonna say and then thought right then i'll just turn each of those six little lines into a verse for the poem um and then but i got a bit carried away with thinking oh because it's a poem i need to sort of flower it up and you know look for i was the thesaurus open looking at different ways of saying things and it just it just went so far the other way that it was it didn't make any sense at all it was just flowery [ __ ] yeah i think with poetry you've just got to rely on yourself i think i think you're right i think it's like doing an exam almost yeah where you can do all your revision and stuff outside of it yeah but once you're doing it you've just got to rely on what's inside you yeah what you've got naturally your disposal in an earlier episode tommy you were talking about how your subconscious is a very important part of creativity and yeah yeah brain systems you know of that and making the connections between things and that is sort of how it feels feels like you have to let your subconscious go with it a bit yeah yeah yeah i think it helps with that is because when we had kate fox on she was her one of her hints and tips for poetry was to write about something that you genuinely have a connection with or a passion for feel something about and i tried to do that but what i realized quite quickly is that no one wants poems about bourbon i realized was i don't really care about anything i'm not really passionate about anything really would you say you're quite passionate about feeling like that though i'm quite passionate you sound like you've got something like real something inside you about not being passionate about it yeah i'm passionate about being soulless you should do like a banner and stand outside a town hall somewhere what do i want nothing in particular when do i want it i don't know before closing time um so yeah it was quite difficult in that sense and the other the other hint and tip that i struggled with of kate's was and i think it was quite a good tip she said you don't have to make your last line a sort of pithy it doesn't have to be like a punch line it doesn't have to sort of you know what i mean yeah and i really struggle with that i kind of i have to i felt like i've got to finish on some sort of you have to

is it's like a gentle punch line at the end yeah yeah it's like it's like you're putting it gently down yeah rather rather than kind of send it up in the air for everyone to see and it is definitely with poetry is not completing the circle thing as well that we were talking about before well that depends on who's judging you some people like everything to be completely finished and compacted into an easy soluble swallowable idiot proof yes but moving on well you know it's moving not always right are they not always right but no i very much feel like i've got to finish everything with a full stop you know it's got to be quite clear that that's the end it doesn't necessarily have to like say complete the circle but it's got to be clear here's the end of the argument or here's you know the last expression was it kate who said the thing about delete the first stanza or the first line or the last line as well she did yeah get rid of the top and the bottom i think she said that which again was a problem because the first line was very much my favorite you could have just moved your first line down a bit yeah i've basically ignored all of the tips from from the actual working poet when it came to writing my poetry do you think maybe because poetry is sort of freer than prose you don't have that sort of self-censorship override switch on do you know what i mean when when i'm writing prose i'm always kind of critiquing my own writing whereas i think with poetry you just i don't know it's like you just vomit it out and see what comes out it's sort of it is how i felt i'm the exact opposite because writing prose i feel there's no there are no sort of restrictions on the sort of rhythm or the length of a sentence or whatever you can just write whatever you want in prose whereas because there is a kind of imposed format particularly in this we're writing you know a very sort of strictly formatted version of a poet in the trivision yeah but the lines could be any length and it didn't have to rhyme or anything that's true but i still i still felt like i was uh i know i was much more sort of conscious of like no think of a line though that's not quite right think of something else no that's not quite right rather than just writing something down yeah exact opposite yeah it is interesting you know yeah anyway i wrote three poems in the oh bloody hell here we go were they all brilliant uh two of them were one of them was just average but um i can't wait to hear them mr productive well yeah you can't uh can't do them now because i've entered two of them into the competition yeah exactly we're gonna have to are you gonna win first and second place in this first and third maybe i don't know no i felt happy i just felt happy with them and they kind of came out nicely um it was weird they kind of just fell into the format and they didn't need i didn't eat they were six sentences long do you mean like the kind of yeah just uh it just sort of happened yeah i enjoy i think it partly was the environment of actually just sitting down and like dave said not yeah going right i'm going to sit down and do some let's go put the kettle on yeah and then jimmy like oh no we're here it's amazing it isn't how productive you can be isn't it when you just force yourself yeah i think so to come back around and complete this particular circle that is definitely something that writer's hour would be really good for i would definitely i wouldn't do it again and like if i was just thinking oh i might write something but if i had a very specific kind of right i want to finish this chapter or i wanna you know if a very specific goal of something that i could do in an hour i would definitely do that again sort of force me to just get on with it yeah and they are just unerringly positive they really are to the point where you're not sure whether it's real or not but it's so nice you're not you don't really care everything's just so chilled and happy and like nice and yes they've got the vibe right haven't they definitely lovely yeah yeah i think i have to say i think we're probably converted from our cynicism really it's a it's a nice thing to do it's ridiculous it's silly but it's a nice thing but it does seem to work yeah that's the main thing yeah yeah mark's out of 10. oh god even go there dave are you asking muscle marks out of 10 yeah is that like a questioning of how marks out of 10 works i'd have to come up with a complicated category system so i'll give it a solid solid eight solid eight yeah john yeah no i go i can concur with that yeah yeah i thought it was really good so i'd give it a six no it works all day well done well done we should probably move on now shouldn't we to the things that we promised earlier in the episode yes so let's introduce our guest for today it's rosie wilby tell us a little bit about rosie will be how did rosie will be getting in touch by the way baddie she got in touch with you yes so she saw us mentioned in an email an email newsletter from great british podcasts where we have occasionally featured she's always mentioned yeah she saw she saw us on there got in touch said she wanted to talk to us because we just sounded great and we in return checked her out and she looked excellent she's a stand-up comedian she's also a writer she's written several books mainly about relationships yes non-fiction books but she's done lots of other things as well she was a journalist she has been a musician in the hit parade and a current book the breakup monologues is doing really well at the minute um she's also got a podcast called the breakup monologues so you should listen to that like after this not right now when this is finished go and listen to the breakup monologues yeah hang on a minute but yeah should we hear a talk about such things now let's let's do it

let's say a big welcome to rosie rosie will be thank you very much for joining us today well thank you it's lovely to be with you thank you for being foolish enough to come on something called the failing writers podcast yes i i liked the sound of the title failing writers i mean did it appeal to you on some level into did it is there a bit of you inside that is forever a failing writer despite your success i i i think it's very i think it's just really interesting how we define failure and success um is that about money which would mean that most authors would feel like they're failing yeah um or is it about you know succeeding creatively and and achieving the aims that you wanted to when you set out to write your book yeah like that kind of cultural exposure yeah you know yeah or is it some kind of acceptance and popularity and yeah i mean it's it's it's an interesting one isn't it uh that is what would you say if someone was failing on all those people i think then then you would have to say there is a level of lack of achievement yeah i mean i think if you're not even pleasing yourself wow

but i just think i just think sometimes i mean my podcast which is all about breakups is all about how we can learn from failure and how often you know being at your low point when you really feel like you've not done the things you set out to in your relationship or in your career or in your life those are the times when you actually figure it out and you start problem solving and you start thinking really creatively and you change tack i mean i changed from being a musician to being a comedian because you know to some extent i felt my music career was in inverted commerce failing although you know when i look back now i achieved a lot of things i played at some fantastic festivals i had an album out um it was on my own label so it was sort of grassroots diy but it was in all the major shops and you know it got played on the radio and it got nice reviews and all of these things but i think often we kind of set ourselves very high standards don't we and we we judge ourselves very harshly when we don't meet them yeah because that's very much sounds successful isn't it i think probably now more than ever we judge ourselves by the the very top the creme de la creme don't we because that's what we kind of see and are exposed to on on on everything on social media and stuff we kind of judge it by well i'm not the rolling stones this isn't anything i want to be like them but there's so much involved with being that successful that yes to some extent um you know when you're talking about the rolling stones and you know mick jagger you know you are talking about charisma and persona and the sort of dreaded x factor that we talk about um and talent but there's so much that goes into whether somebody achieves that kind of level of huge recognition and you know monetary wealth um that is you know beyond things we have control over and a lot of it you know i'm kind of you know as well as writing i occasionally mentor a couple of writers that i know and you know i'm i'm realizing how difficult it is i mean one of them said to me you know she just kind of realized that you know how well your book does in in the eyes of the publishing world is nothing to do with how good it is um and it's quite dispiriting and depressing when you first realize that that it is about you know connections and privilege it is sometimes about being white and posh and straight you know what is what is your criteria for success it's really it's really complex i do think um that achieving your creative aims um and actually saying what you want to say being able to finding a space to be authentic is a big part of it i like that because that's that's aiming quite low i could probably do just about do that that doesn't involve the money or the actually anyone listening to the content well i think if you can't be authentic then what would be the point you know if you i don't know wrote some trashy romance novel i mean not that all romance novels are trashy don't get me wrong but if you wrote something deliberately to make money and you didn't it wasn't what your heart was in yeah i don't know if that is really success is it i mean for some people it might be but i'm not sure it would be for me i mean people say to me oh why don't you do this or that or whatever because sometimes some of the subjects i tackle are quite challenging and difficult you know my first book was called is monogamy dead and i got you know i got a very funny protest letter delivered through the bookshop letterbox on the day that i was due to be doing my launch there and i it's great it's a gift i read it out now um you know that my i'm proud that my book made somebody so angry that they got up early before a bookshop opened in order to post a letter through the letterbox to instruct me that i was wrong in questioning monogamy um and that you know marriage

were the most uh effective forms of cohabitation yet discovered i'm going to assume that that person probably didn't read the book either no no he did say he was going to save his pennies and not buy the book which is kind of interesting because my book if you do read it is all about how monogamy could survive and thrive um i'm not going to read it rosie i'm just going to complain about it later thank you i love that i suppose if you were saying that surely surely you would have called it monogamy is dead rather than is indeed you are right i know that's it i was asking a question and i was sort of looking at how we live now and how we're quite seriously monogamous and how we've altered the meaning of monogamy from one marriage for life to one marriage at a time

monogamous with this person for now um monogamy now sounds like quite good i don't know it sounds like a very bad magazine that you'd accidentally pick up in the days but yeah i i think it's so interesting this whole discussion about failure and success and and i think we're constantly redefining those parameters um and i do think causing discussion and debate is something that i find rewarding you know i was glad when people told me that they'd read my book is monogamy dead and found it had really made them stay up all hours with their partner discussing it what it meant that's genuine engagement isn't it i i think clever publishers do get it and do see that but it's sad that the main model that we have for rewarding writers financially is purely based on a number of sales which is a very crude uh you know way of of looking at things yes in the process of um discussing topics like that rosie you you really open yourself up don't you like the three of us write fiction but you've you've kind of turned your life particularly like the intimate secrets of your love life into your art uh out there on display for everyone to consume and comment on and judge yeah it's really it's really tough actually but i think it's important to be honest and be authentic but hopefully not at the cost of anyone's feelings because i think i'm usually the butt of the jokes i mean yeah or at least i hope so i try to represent other people fairly unconsciously and compassionate it's interesting isn't it because like i have arguments with my partner where we completely remember incidents totally differently that only happened a couple of days ago so to sort of you know to try and write something uh from a sort of you know a reasonable point of view about things that might have happened years ago must be quite tricky you are aware in those arguments dave that you are wrong absolutely

just in case yeah especially conversations and dialogue the first time i wrote a memoir i mean and parts of this did go into my first book but it originally had a different title it was about my music career it was called how not to make it in brit pop and i entered it into a writing competition where very luckily i was shortlisted fortunately um and that was kind of the beginning of me finding an agent and publisher and starting to starting to get published but yeah it was interesting i used to write you know big long chunks without any dialogue because i couldn't remember exactly what people had said and i didn't think you could make it up but then i spoke to more and more writers of non-fiction and memoir who said yes you've got to you need to have dialogue but you know if you can remember certain phrases or words or even the energy or emotion of the conversation and you try and represent that honestly and emotionally and fairly and you try and represent the other person yeah yeah yeah you know as authentically as you can you know i think that you know well enough writers said to me that they do that too and they think that's fair enough that i i felt that that would be okay yeah yeah i've been reading i've been reading quite a lot of uh like couples therapy books as research for a show that i'm writing with my wife about marriage and uh it's been really interesting but um yeah i was gonna i was gonna ask you is is is there like is there like a secret to a successful marriage or a relationship is there something that you've picked up on your journey that's a real like key thing that you have to bear in mind in a relationship yeah well i think perhaps connected to the themes we're talking about i think not being scared of failure i think if you're not scared of it breaking up if you know you could survive that even though you'd miss the person desperately and you really want to make it work if you know that it's not this terrible threat this terrible dark cloud looming on the horizon oh my god what if we break up um you can sort of just get on with things whereas in relationships i've been in in the past when i think it possibly is going to break up that is just such a threat and just such a fear and this fear of failure is so great that it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy as they say just hang it changes your behavior doesn't it and i think if you have a view that somehow this person is the one and the only one for you and you won't you simply won't be able to live in the world without them which is sort of what all the romantic films would have us believe but i think if you really buy into that you are scared you are too petrified when you're in a partnership but if you're going to go by romantic films then what needs to happen before that is you need to be stalked um but it's fine because you're a sort of a pretty attractive film star so it's okay do something really creepy that would land most people in jail and then you fall in this love hollywood rom comes yeah i remember i i did want to see this film where a woman's way of uh seducing somebody was to fire an arrow through her window while she was up a tree outside her flat um with a love note around around the arrow i thought what a sophisticated wave and i mean it could go wildly wrong you know yes sorry for shooting you can it's quite full-on it is quite full-on yeah i think the 80s have a lot to answer for don't in many ways including the films that they popped out and what do you mean even stuff like the goonies and i i remember growing up as a kid just wanting you wanted an adventure didn't you like it really back in the 80s that was quite easy to achieve wasn't it so i mean there were lots of like open quarries and just just to go and play it's kind of what we did isn't it really and children were let out bridges and things like that nobody cared about us when we were kids it does sound terribly cliche now doesn't it for old people like us to say well when i was a kid we were just go on our bikes and then you your mum would be shouting tea is ready just make sure you're back before so that's right but also there was kind of a low bar wasn't there because we didn't have so many competing forms of entertainment yeah and that many tv channels or internet or all these gadgets um you know so you would amuse yourself really rubbish things because if you've got if you've got kids now instead right you can either go on your ps5 for a couple of hours or you can go out into the back field and hit something with a stick yeah it's not even it's not even going to be like well why am i hitting and how big is the stick they're just going to be like nah just stay in the room on ps5 texting me texting me yeah little insight into tommy's childhood

you're listening to the failing writers podcast and i bloody well suggest you carry on doing so so tell tell us more about your podcast how long has it been going oh um the breakup monologues has been going since um i think it was the end of 2017 um and that came after a trilogy of shows i'd done about love and relationships solo comedy shows um and that had ended with one about breakups because the whole trilogy had been about the psychology of love and so my solo show was called the conscious uncoupling which was about the email breakup so it was kind of an ironic title um and then that got other people other performers and friends and writers all talking to me and sharing their breakup stories with me so i thought we really should have a chat show where other people shared their stories of relationship failure and we kind of compared war stories and compared war wounds and talked about how we'd reinvented ourselves and we'd healed yeah i guess because i think there are similarities with with with that and with this podcast because some like some your relationship with things that you're writing is kind of kind of like relationships uh with other people sometimes like you said you know sometimes you you invest a lot of time and effort into it and you pour your heart and soul into it oh um and then sometimes you've just got to accept that things aren't really working and you know can you yeah can you let it go or do you have to keep on plugging away because in my book version of the breakup monologues which um kind of has my story underpinning things there are lots of bits and pieces and little highlights from the podcast scattered throughout but it essentially tells my story um and i do include friendship breakups and professional breakups in that and the professional breakup the lead-in story for that is my breakup with my first literary agent which i still would say is one of my most painful ever breakups because she was also a friend and somebody that i had invested a lot of hopes and dreams in building a relationship with um you know because she had been to lots of my comedy shows and i thought had a good sense of where um you know i was coming from as a creative artist not to be fair i think she did but i think we disagree about the structures of the publishing industry and how you know as i've alluded how the finances are kind of distributed and you know i mean always all relationships it comes down to money i think particularly work relationships do um i i talk about seven reasons for breakups at the start of my book and sex is usually the number one for romantic relationships breaking down but i do also note that all of my professional breakups have been to do with disagreements over money i think i think if you reach a time where your professional relationships are breaking down because of the sex then there's other other problems

yeah yeah indeed indeed but then well we've sometimes we've done it haven't we yeah we've been there but yeah i do think there was some complicated stuff going on around the publication of my first book because uh the publisher were going out of business um and they were sort of not being totally upfront with all their authors about what was happening so we were not getting royalty statements or royalty payments and not getting the things done that were being said they were going to get done and also you know people were getting made redundant everybody was leaving there was nobody left you rang up the office there was no answer um the office moved to some kind of cupboard somewhere there was no marketing team doing any marketing there was nobody doing any tweets there was nothing happening and something clearly wasn't right um so a lot of writers were in a very anxious position and you know i guess i'm one very much for honesty and authenticity and i just felt what was happening wasn't wasn't right and i don't know i guess my agent felt that you've got to always be nice and grovely to your publisher because they're publishing your book even if you know that they're doing something a bit shady yeah i mean that publisher has now been bought out by another lovely publisher and everyone i've dealt with there uh i seem absolutely wonderful and very transparent and i get proper royalty statements now um that makes sense so that's all good and my new book is with bloomsbury who've been really really great as well so hopefully you know uh there's a happy ending to the story and all is good no it all worked out okay but i sort of felt i suppose i felt really sad and quite distraught at that breakup with my first agent because i felt she wasn't hearing me and i felt i was actually being authentic to true in values i really believe in where you do sort of stand up to hmm unethical practices i guess um and you don't just go oh thank you very much for publishing my book even though you've actually not done any of the things that you said you would do i mean you can ask questions politely but i do think you can ask questions i imagine it's quite easy to take advantage of writers because they're just so excited to be published and you know to to be going along with well you look at the amount of industry out there that's you know pseudo publishers that will land you with a five grand bill yeah nothing in particular do you mean this i know yes yeah i yeah i had um because my first book has not officially been um published in the us my contract was just for the uk and commonwealth excluding canada i mean it's weird because it does seem to be made available in those the places it's not supposed to be in any way and i didn't grant the rights to but there we are that's another thing you know i was i was asking questions about which i apparently shouldn't have been asking questions about but there we are um but um yeah and there was this company that did approach me about publishing it in the us and they were they were not asking me for money they were going to pay me a very very very tiny amount of money yeah um but i started looking at authors who had been published by this publisher and there would be like a tweet saying oh my god so excited my my book comes out in the u.s today and then there was silence it was just nothing and i thought and there was this was author after all do you think the publisher had been murdering the authors oh my god there's a book idea no royalties there isn't it yeah i hadn't gone there yeah i think that's what happened i can't believe you didn't see that that is definitely what happened such a good job you didn't go with them wow we'll be having this conversation now if you just signed up oh my god i wouldn't be here now yeah talk about failed writers murdered writers rosie do you like do you enjoy the act of writing i know that sounds like a stupid question because you have one so presumably you like it a little bit but i mean do you do you get quite into it and yeah i do and i have moments when i do but i mean i do think there's something in the you know the famous saying isn't there that you know to hate writing but love having written yes um you know it's very rewarding to have your book all finished and i mean this new book um i'm very is it rewarding i think so because my new book is hard for it just because i yeah yeah we haven't really we haven't really produced anything so yeah i do i do think there's some reward in that for sure and for me really and this has been slightly depressing in a pandemic the real reward and the reason why i do anything is to then go and perform a show about it to go and talk about it on stage in front of audiences or to come on podcasts like this and have really fun conversations about the work that i've done um i mean this this podcast is more meta isn't it we're kind of talking about the process of writing as much as we're talking about you know what i've written about but and that's really fun too yes i think you know the sad part is is that if you're sort of a minority voice in that you know i'm very open about being an lgbt woman and having relationships with women um and even though my book is really universal and and it has stories from all kinds of other people from all points on the sexuality spectrum gender age different you know people from all different walks of life you know i think ultimately the central story is you know some very heteronormative people will see that or is that's a gay book because it's written by a lesbian about her relationship with with another lesbian whereas i say now this is kind of my latest idea for trying to reach the tricky to reach heteronormative readers who who definitely avoided my first book i think i've caught some of them out with my with my new book very easily i know i think actually everybody should be reading books well she would all be reading outside of our comfort zone anyway because we learn more then we're more enriched by thinking about different lives um you know i i realized only in the last couple of years or so with the whole black lives matter movement how much white culture i consume because that's what always seems readily available and you know it's been really great to try and try and consume other stuff and brilliant programs like i may destroy you recently um i do think that it's important for everybody to read books by lgbt people particularly non-fiction books about relationships doesn't have to be mine but there are others too because um good if it was yours though wouldn't it that would be ideal and better it'd be better if it was yours it would but um gay people i don't if you know this have typically historically been ahead of the curve with relationship trends because gay people have sat outside of the kind of normative narratives of getting married and having kids so gay people have coined phrases like living apart together have experimented with non-monogamy before it became a wider discussion in the mainstream community lesbians pioneered conscious uncoupling long before gwyneth paltrow and you know armistead morphin obviously fabulous queer writer talks about the idea of a logical family as opposed to biological family and kind of celebrating community and and seeing your friends as your family and i think now all these ideas are part of the broader heteronormative tapestry but in a way lgbt people have been the sort of pioneers and the experimenters with all of these ideas so you know if you do kind of listen to podcasts by by queer people and read books by queer people you might be getting a taste of what everyone's relationships are going to look like in the next five ten years to come yeah that's really interesting i think i mean for me that's the kind of the point in reading you know i think it's the fun thing or the interesting thing about reading is to kind of drop into different people's shoes you know and live different lives and find out what you know what what else is going on in the world you know i don't really want to read about uh about people like me i don't think anyone wants to read about people like you joe exactly exactly exactly my point i like the idea a gay book just just the idea of a gay boy well i just have the image of image of an old couple middle-aged old couple walking through the airport and uh and donald's putting his hand out to try and buy this book and his wife telling him oh dear donald put that down don't hold that's a gay book that's okay not reading that this is so interesting and it touches on something very close to my heart and this idea of um you know almost segregation in the bookshops and on the bookshelves and how there is a a gay section for gay books because surely only gay people are going to read gay books which is that's crazy because as i've just said i do think we should all be reading books by by people outside of our our peer group people i think people's a good word in that isn't it yeah yeah yeah we're just literally people yeah it's just it's weird it must be changing though i feel like there must be lots of people who don't think like that i mean it must be easier to be of course to be a stand-up who's lesbian but it doesn't just do exclusively you know same-sex jokes absolutely yeah no indeed and i try to talk about relationships really broadly and universally and if i do talk about gay stuff yeah i try and make it you know interesting for a wider audience like when i used to talk about coming out it wasn't really about the act of coming out so much as how weird and icky it is to talk to your parents about anything intimate have you have you noticed your audiences change when you talk to them after a show have i noticed how enlightened they are suddenly no have you turned them all gay by the end of by the end of the show but rosie i was going to ask just you kind of looking at your sort of outline of your career and everything and you were saying about kind of the performing side of it is kind of where you like to get to and that's what kind of uh does it for you has that been the driving force behind everything you've kind of done was that you as a kid was like were you the performing one wanting an audience oh no not really i was very very shy um and i am quite introverted really but i think once i found creativity and started writing songs and then stories and expressing myself then i think you do want to share it with people you want the reward and affirmation of people going oh that's good and i think doing that on stage live is the most immediate way of seeing yeah and hearing that scene but it's more about sharing your stuff than just being applauded by an audience then oh gosh yes it's yeah it's not being applauded for just you know if i was going to get up and sing a cover version or i don't know reading out someone else's story i mean that would be a weird thing in comedy actually doing cover versions they they do exist they do exist they do they do exactly a peter k tribute comedian a working men's club how did you get away i mean we thought we thought about doing it once when i did a three-header show in edinburgh we thought about maybe on them last night like trying to do each other's sets or something wow but no i i mean if it was material it still meant something to me i guess it would still have a resonance but it's very much about sharing my story and having my story be heard because i think if i don't tell my story then who will yeah and i mean my story in in a whole number of ways i guess my story as a gay person who came out in the 90s well right at the end of the 1980s when it was very very hostile um as a teenager then um when the world was was deeply homophobic what was that what was that like then you know tough tough um i mean my parents were you know the the two people who were quite okay with it really because my mum was very progressive and i've done comedy about how she told me she started to tell me all about her and her friend joan who were awfully close and i was like oh no and and she embraced it i know exactly and she just um started telling all the neighbors and she was over excited about it uh a cringy but a blesser um lovely really um so you know coming out and also you know facing all the challenges of being an introverted only child who still had something to say and wanted to find a way to say that and you know having being bullied and excluded at school and not feeling you know part of any of the cool cliques um you know all that stuff it does scar you you know and it's hard to recover from and you have to find your way and and you i think there's an urgency to feeling heard when you've been really erased and ignored in those formative years as a child and teenager sorry that's gone a bit deep for our podcast

hey should we line things up i was gonna i was gonna i've got a light question for you where are you doing any live gigs we've got stuff coming up imminently or is covert still uh yeah i am i am going to be gigging what we got coming up i'm doing um a festival called shout festival in in birmingham um in november there's a a lovely comic called maureen younger who organizes comedy night as part of that um oh god i'm yeah there's there's lots of things coming up that i can't even remember lots of different comedy nights literary nights i've just been asked to host uh kind of quite academic and fancy sounding literary night as well that um you know and i always sounds like the place that we should be hey i know i always feel quite good when i get to do those gigs where it's in a bit of a fancy place like a museum or an arty kind of you know the ica or i don't know somewhere that's a bit you know a bit cerebral because i feel like i've gone up in the world here you know yeah

good quality wood paneling or something yeah yeah that's right so so yeah there's a there's definitely a few things coming up did the not performing thing hit you quite hard i mean obviously people have had tougher times pandemic but um in terms of obviously you're saying that's a huge part of what you do did you find other ways to expose yourself to the world or were you just expose myself what gigs do you think i'm doing although interestingly i did want to do a comedy gig at a sex party um was it a sex party before you started doing a your giggle

yeah people just got bored and just started checking um so how bad would your act happen i've heard this one let's just get on with it i mean if you can hear sweet wrappers going that's bad enough isn't it but uh did they did they warn you before you started don't you worry it was a sex party that and i was aware of it um but the sex the sex room had not been opened yet oh um

yeah it was quite it was quite an experience it was really fun like the the cabaret is quite short because people are impatient to get on with it um but

it's it's a rewarding gig people are really in a good mood just play the chorus just play the chorus knock knock who's there someone at the sex room let's get on now obviously this sex party did not happen during the pandemic no i just need to point that out for legal reasons uh yes so like you say the pandemic did close down the comedy circuit for a good old while and i'm really glad that it's been back because i have been doing a number of festivals just just this past few weeks um just about to release an episode of the podcast recorded a man festival in wales which was really nice the difference in the audiences coming back are people just really hungry for it because i think there's a people are desperate to get back out yeah i think so i think people are really into it and people are really engaged um and maybe kind of almost grateful for it yeah yeah i think it definitely felt like that at the festivals that i've done recently green man and prima donna festival and um we did a show under belly festival as well so yeah that's that's definitely felt and i was at wilderness as well it's a lovely festival and definitely at those i think there was a feeling of that because all of those of course had been cancelled the previous year rosie what's what's next we've got another book lined up are you writing anything at the moment um uh not um officially no i've got a few ideas i've got um a new podcast idea i'm working on just a little pilot this month i got a very tiny grant to develop a new idea that's going to be called looking for my sister and it's the idea of siblings and not having siblings and always having wanted to have a sister so who knows i mean that could be interesting and could develop into a book idea but it's very very early days with that because there's a lot that could come into that about my sort of feelings on family and how we define family and think about family you know i definitely think i'll keep exploring ideas around connection and relationships in the broader sense not purely romantic sexual ones but uh yeah you know i'm really enjoying writing um journalism like writing articles for magazines in newspapers i've been doing a lot of that around the book publication so i've got a few possible commissions for some of those um and i'm really enjoying that because i think it's just a fast track to the rewarding position of your article being finished and in print yes very quickly yeah yeah whereas of course with a book it's just all such a slow process that you're slightly less immediate yeah i think you can feel really lost and you know you can get quite down and depressed when you're writing it particularly during a pandemic and thinking well is it ever going to come out are bookshop's going to be open what's going to happen to the book you know um so i think you can almost have this strange sense i mean we're talking about you know how it feels to have people read your work there's there's a kind of conflict isn't that where part of you you know thinks oh god i don't want anyone to read my work because i am sharing such personal stuff and there's a sort of comfort in thinking that maybe the book will just disappear and then you're like oh my god why then why am i doing it don't be silly i've got to promote it i've got to get everybody to read it but yeah there is a sort of self-protection that kind of kicks in i think just before it where i kind of suddenly felt a bit exposed and i didn't want people to read it it's a really weird kind of conflict yeah what you want to do if you want to stop people reading it if you get up early on the day it's published and go to the bookshop and uh post a handwritten note through the door

you seem to pack a lot in rosie you're uh you're a bit of a polymath aren't you i think you seem to have done a bit of everything do you get bored quite easily switched off for a minute there oh sorry i was just saying it sounds like you're a bit of a polymath do you get bored really easily you've done i was just so i was making a joke at your expense oh sorry because your question was boring and long so she got bored and now now everyone else is everyone listening is now where are you hold on john

no do i get bored i mean i like having different strings to my bow different things to be working on you know i think it's been good to focus on one theme but explore it through different mediums so you know with the podcast and the book and magazine articles now as well and really get deep into breakups i mean breakups has been you know my creative work now for several years i mean there are other people who've written about breakups you know and written great books and articles and and there are other podcasts about breakups but i i would be surprised if anyone else has done the amount of nerdy research and thinking that that i've done about breakups and i've kind of put myself into science experiments you know as a real life kind of guinea pig um so where i've had my my genital arousal measured yeah i was listening to that bit of your book in fact a couple of nights ago that was that was astonishing oh wow so you know i've really tried to go deep into this topic literally yeah yeah oh this topic has gone deep into me um yeah

it's getting a little bit bitter yeah do you ever get that feeling it's time to end an interview

there we go i don't know if anyone heard that did you hear that that was the end that little bit of silence was literally the end of the interview so it's ended now uh well thank you very much for your time so much for joining me i hope people will keep in touch and uh check out the burka i love to hear what people think of it it's um yeah i'm at breakup monologues on instagram and rosie will be on twitter so keep in touch well thanks rosie have a lovely day what wasn't that nice yeah good stuff that was nice um really what a lovely lady and as we said before you should uh you should go immediately and buy the breakup monologues uh or listen to the breakup monologues podcast wherever what right here wherever you're listening to this podcast you can probably listen to that podcast as well i feel a bit sorry for rosie actually why just because i thought that was a pretty good interview wasn't it was amazing of course it was yeah yeah but then we've got a big announcement coming up and it's just gonna oh overshadow the whole interview is just gonna pale into insignificant people yeah absolutely yeah because it's such a big that goes to klaxon again it's just such a such a huge announcement really is this matter yeah so announce it then tom what is it that we've got to announce to the world exclusively here now uh we're just gonna do like a little writing competition and stuff so it's cool and that's it for this week guys catch us next monday and um yeah we're doing we're launching a flash fiction competition yeah what else it's halloween themed halloween themed yeah what is the most important thing there's a hundred pounds up for grabs 100 cash sterling four ponies five score yeah quick as they call it on the street there what yeah exactly have you got five score quid for me yeah a fifth of a monkey i think they call it there's a hundred got a name um what's a monkey a monkey's 250 monkey's 500 isn't it a ton it's a ton of course it is of course it is i was hoping it was like a bad dress but no it's just it's done isn't it we can call it a badge yeah win a bad jab yeah so 100 100 smackaroos just for doing something you love doing anyway and get to hear your entry if it wins read allowed by professional voice actors uh live on this show hey do you know what else we could do we could even throw in some failing writer's merch yes uh we got money can't buy failing writers t-shirt uh what else we got bookmark marks few but we chuck in a few bookmarks i mean let's just go for it we're really going for it with this competition so yeah flash fiction competition halloween thing it doesn't have to be about ghosts or it just needs to have something about halloween in it it can be anything can it use your imagination yeah be creative so you can find all the details at forward slash blog but the most important detail is that in order to enter the competition you have to listen to next week's show episode 24 will contain all of the very specific details of the competition the things you will need to include in the story uh yeah and the winner will be revealed on halloween itself um so yeah theme plaques and noise that you do there for this stuff or not i don't i don't know how do you do

so until then let's just say au revoir

i feel that we're very much sort of diversity champions on this podcast because there are literally people from all walks of life who have never listened to this show and i think that's it's a great sort of cover equally ignored by all sexualities races and genders exactly yeah very much very very much that's what that's what we're all aiming for exactly

where's everybody gone

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Rosie Wilby

Rosie Wilby is an award-winning comedian, author and podcaster who has appeared many times on BBC Radio 4 programmes including Woman's Hour and Four Thought. Her first book Is Monogamy Dead? was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize and followed a trilogy of solo shows investigating the psychology of love and relationships. Her new book The Breakup Monologues is based on her acclaimed podcast of the same name.