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Kevin Connolly

Kevin Connolly is the former editor of Belfast's free magazine BLT (Belfast Life Today), plus the property magazine The Hothouse, a supplement of the Sunday People. He has had twenty poems published in books and magazines, and he is currently completing his first horror novel. He has written over fifty comedy short stories, and lives in Belfast.

The Greatest Author Never to Put Pen to Paper by Kevin Connolly

Nobby Norbertson had always known that he would one day be a writer. He had been writing since the age of fifteen. By twenty-one he could do joined-up writing. He once thought of a beautiful poem, but he had no paper available so he wrote it on his left hand – no small feat, considering the fact that he wrote with his left hand. The inspiration continued on and on, all the way up his arm and down his stomach. He only ended the epic poem when he reached his toes and ran out of body-space. Then he went home and, forgetting momentarily about his masterpiece, had a shower. C'est la vie.

Nobby's first novel was rejected by four publishers who claimed that the story was just a little too depressing. So he scrapped his autobiography and instead wrote a novel about the Spanish Inquisition, with instant success. Unfortunately, while carrying his tome to the printer's with a note from the publishing company requesting delivery of an initial ten thousand copies of the book, Nobby was struck with a fit of inspiration. He sat under a bridge and spent a full hour writing a children's version of Lady Chatterley's lover on the back of his novel's pages. When it was finished he decided that he didn't like the new work and – forgetting all about the masterpiece on the other side – chewed it up into little wet paper balls and threw them at people crossing the bridge above his head. It was only when he reached the words 'The End' on the other side that he realised what he had done. He gathered all the paper balls together and tried to reconstruct them, but he realised that he had put them together in the wrong order when it turned out like some horrifying sort of Jeffrey Archer novel, which he swiftly burned.

Nobby returned to his first love, poetry. He came up with a lovely poem on a bus, and began writing it down on the back of his hand. It was only when he reached the thirty-second verse on his buttocks that his fellow passengers began to scream, so he quickly scribbled it out to conceal the evidence. Nobby could only write when he was depressed. But he was only depressed when he couldn't write, so he wrote more when he couldn't write than he did when he could. Paradoxically, his writing was more cheerful when he was of a depressed disposition; when he was happy he tended to churn out totally morose work which depressed even him when he read it, and his melancholia resulted in him writing much more cheerfully.

Nobby was at his lowest ebb, when he came to a stark realisation: to be a successful writer, you have to write about what you know. Dick Francis wrote about jockeys, Shakespeare wrote about men in tights, so Nobby would write about what he knew, and knew well. His first book was published within the month, and it sold ten million copies worldwide. It was acclaimed as the most relaxing book ever written. People who couldn't sleep, or simply wanted to relax, went out and purchased his book 'Silence'. It was a real breakthrough in the world of literature. Two hundred pages of sheer blankness, which the buying public could read over and over again and find something different every time. Seven more books filled with empty pages followed in rapid succession, making Nobby a millionaire eighty times over. He knew nothing, so he wrote nothing.

Nobby became such a prolific author that he scrapped his typewriter and threw away all his pens, and began to send two hundred blank A4 sheets to Readett and Scrappett every month. There was even a blank audiocassette version of his first novel on the shelves of all good record shops. Nobby won the Booker prize for literature for his fourth novel, 'Nothing', which was later made into a blockbuster movie (with a ninety-two million pound budget), featuring not only NONE of Hollywood's top stars, but a magnificently relaxing empty screen as well.

Nobby wrote countless blank columns in the 'Times', and the world's first totally minimalist newspaper, the '        ' (which came out in thirty-two blank pages daily, with a completely empty magazine on Sundays) was – needless to say – the brainchild of the great non-wordsmith himself. Nobby appeared on numerous TV chat-shows around the world and never said a word. The very fact that he never opened his mouth and put his foot in it made him an extremely popular choice as a future Prime Minister, President or Ayatollah in any country of his choice.

As he became revered around the world as 'The greatest author never to put pen to paper', Nobby rewrote his previously unpublished autobiography in a more popular modern style, by simply removing all the words with a few bottles of Tippex. He then rewrote the complete works of Shakespeare (the world's greatest writer before the extraordinary advent of Nobby Norbertson) with the aid of an eraser and a pair of scissors. He became so popular that nobody ever mentioned his name (which was precisely the way he wanted it). However, since his readers had to invent their own story in their heads while enjoying a Nobby Norbertson novel, some people deciphered some insulting remarks about themselves hidden between the non-existent lines. A number of lawsuits were taken out by disgruntled readers who believed that Nobby had libelled them on the blank pages of his novels. Nobby threatened to sue any publisher who issued blank books in breach of his copyright. He even threatened to destroy the careers of fellow authors in whose books he found the odd blank page (and in one case, the empty space between two paragraphs), for copying from his work. Yes indeed, Nobby Norbertson certainly had a lot of things happening in his once desolate life…a great deal of experiences for the author supreme to write about (or not, as the case may be).

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