Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sins of the Father

by Ashley James Lister

My father (Ashley R Lister) has recently asked me to help him with this blog by writing a piece entitled “Living With A Writer”. Stuck for inspiration, I shamelessly spied on his writing and found a piece he was working on for the same theme. This was regarding rules and codicils of the writer.

His answers gave the impression that he was a concentrated writer whose focus was completely unbroken. Right?

Wrong. Here are a few of the questions he didn’t get to.

Question number #1

“Would the writer like to play a game of Tekken against his son?”

The writer is frustrated. He can’t get into his characters’ heads; he can’t find the right words, even using his thesaurus; and can’t get the mouse to work on his computer. Whilst the writer feels the need to (and would probably enjoy) using martial arts to kick a panda to death, he is too kind (and there are no pandas in the local area). However, the beat ‘em up ‘Tekken’ involves certain characters to make this dream (or panda activist’s nightmare) a reality. Thank God for the Playstation!

The writer would like a quick game to beat up his son and feel good about it. However, pandas are scary – particularly when they are trained sumo wrestlers. This panda isn’t going to make it easy for him.

Question number #2

“Can the writer recommend a good movie to watch?”

The writer is frustrated. Not only does he return to find his computer’s mouse still broken and hovering over the Facebook tab on the internet, but his son has beaten him at Tekken (with the aid of a giant Panda, no less). Thankfully, though, the writer was out shopping for movies earlier and stumbled upon a great buy! Camp Blood – a sort of teen slasher where girls who can’t go three steps without falling are chased by a killer clown. The premise sounds like fun – clowns are the scariest thing on Earth (save for spiders) and watching them eviscerate people is a nice way to wind down.

The acting in Camp Blood is like a good pizza – cheesy with lots of ham. RADA and LAMDA are acting schools, but I’ve never heard of ‘overacting schools,’ where each one of these actors seems to have earned a Masters.

Question number #3

“Would the writer like to watch an episode of Family Guy?”

The writer is even more frustrated. A giant panda beat him up, a killer clown disappointed him and his mouse is still on Facebook. An episode of Family Guy will satisfy everyone. Even Spike (one of our dogs) walks on his hind legs trying to be like the show’s dog Brian. Brian is the best character, rivalled only by Stewie Griffin, a matricidal infant. The eponymous family guy, Peter Griffin, is a bumbling buffoon. Whilst most of the people in the house can relate to this sort of goofiness, the writer is of a higher calibre. Sadly, he has stumbled upon a Peter Griffin-heavy episode. Hardly any Stewie at all.

After a long list of curse words (which offend even me), it’s back to writing.

Question number #4

“How does the writer feel?”

Pandas have whupped him (and whupped him good). His cursor is still pushing him to check out Facebook. A clown with a can of bright red “blood” (notice the “air speech marks”) is in serious need of Stanislavsky training. His dog isn’t as debonair as he’d like. And there aren’t enough killer babies on television. The writer checks his word count. It reads 2.

(The words are not pleasant, so they won’t be repeated here. One of them rhymes with “cooker”, let’s say that much.)

The writer feels like giving up. However, his stories feature people who have realistic needs – genuine characteristics and witty dialogue to rival Churchill (the dog from the adverts – oh, yes!).

There are two worlds in the writer’s life. One features real people and real problems. The other features killer pandas, killer babies and killer clowns.

Now that the night is still and the air is crisp, the writer can find normality amongst the chaos of life.

Ashley James Lister is the son of regular OGAG blogger Ashley R Lister. He is a professional actor and a devoted animal lover (with the exception of pandas).


  1. Ashley,

    Thanks for stopping by the grip and giving us your imaginative (and completely untrue) account of what it's like living with a writer.

    Good writing, dude. Catch you later on the PS3.

    Your father.

  2. Fabulous!

    'The writer checks his word count. It reads 2.'

    That's a bit close to the bone, actually ...

    ; )

  3. Gee,

    I feel a sense of sympathy for both of you!

    Thank you, Ashley J., for sharing your version of the truth!


  4. Uh, welcome to the Grip Ashley J. What a wonderful peak into your father's psych...LOL

    Killer pandas, rampaging clowns and overacting teen trumpets. Sounds like the makings of a new book!

    Thanks for joining us!


  5. Hi everyone,

    Ashley has asked me to pass on his thanks for your kind comments.

    I think we've both agreed that it's not easy living with a writer, but it's not easy living without one either.


    Ash & Ash

  6. That was a fairly accurate depiction.

  7. Like father, like son. Nice to see that a talent for words runs in the family. Ashley Jr., promise us all you will use your talent for good, and not evil ;)

  8. Secretia,

    The lad was miles off. It's nothing like the truth ;-)


    Ash (snr)

  9. Helen,

    You are responsible for my son's smug grin. Thanks you.


    Ash (snr)