Ugly Tuckling by G. L. Sherdan
You can lose yourself in food – cooking it and eating it. It almost makes up for a non-existent love life. Almost, but not quite.
See, the thing is, people assume that when you’re fat, it’s because you eat too much. So just stop eating. Simple enough, isn’t it?
Hah. About as simple as trying to catch fog. I know it, you know it – and so does Cornelius Tuckling. He’s been trying to lose weight for years.
The thing is, he’s not like those fat and confident men – those celebrities whose wide girths don’t stop them turning up at the Oscars with glamorous girls on their arms. No, Cornelius is much more self-conscious – much more ashamed of his fat body.
He doesn’t like his Dad, either. Maybe there’s a connection here? Could it be because all through his childhood, his Dad forced him to go running, play football – do sports he hated? The implication was that he was fat because he was lazy. So now, he does feel kind of small, inside.
But big on the outside. And being a chef doesn’t help. He can’t imagine any girl would find him attractive, so when a pretty new neighbour moves in next door, he doesn’t see the signals she’s sending him.
He needs to change his mind-set. He needs to understand the real reason for his enmity with his Dad, because it goes a lot deeper than he imagines.
This is a dark comedy about a fat guy who dips into his subconscious and brings out a desperate remedy. It’s about people we know – ourselves maybe, too – who’ve tried one diet after another and never got anywhere. It’s got some very silly bits in it – like having Cornelius pose for a naked portrait, a girl falling out of a window, a hallucination of Morgan Freeman in drag and a grouchy, pimply sous-chef who can’t cook. It’s about love, self-loathing, psychology, masked traumas and the realisation that what you’ve hoped for all your life might not actually matter at all, when you finally achieve it.Ever been fat?
Why can’t Cornelius Tuckling see that his pretty neighbour fancies him? Because he’s FAT. And when you’re fat, you don’t think anyone could find you attractive. That’s why he’s thirty years old and still a virgin.
He’s a sensitive soul with gourmet tastes – well, you have to be if you’re a chef. But why does he lose his job? Despite his self-loathing, will he agree to pose naked for a portrait? And will he ever find the true reason why he hates his father?
About the author
Bio: I have a degree in psychology which sometimes comes in handy when you’re trying to create a complicated character. It’s good to use your own experiences too – adds an authentic aspect.
Been writing for about twenty years and have quite a few completed novels. Some need a little more work, but the ideas are there – it’s just time I’m short of!
I was born in Brierfield – a small town in Lancashire, U.K. It was one of those places where everyone knew everyone else, from neighbours to Bert in the sweet shop, Doris in the bakery and Stuart Barnes who had a small grocer’s.
Did my degree at B.I.T. now called the University of Bolton, then did a post-graduate teaching course at Canley College, Coventry. Met my husband on a Christmas night in Burnley and we’re coming up to 39 years together this September.
Been a teacher most of my career with some time off in order to bring up our two children. Our son is in Australia at the moment. Like my husband, he has a degree in Engineering and is head of a team working on railways and iron ore extraction. Our daughter has a 1st class degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge. So a clever lot. Can’t say they get any of it from me!
How did I get into writing? Always loved reading, for a start – read every sci-fi book our small library had as well as whatever else looked interesting. My favourite authors were people like Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein and Wyndham, but I also enjoyed P.G. Woodhouse and Enid Blyton.
LOVE writing. It takes me over, lets me explore places I can’t possibly go to – like Mars or the reaches of outer space. It allows me to probe my own psychology through my characters. I feel my brain balloon like a mushroom cloud when I’m creating a novel, a storyline, an idea that hooks me – after all, if it doesn’t thrill me, it’s not likely to interest potential readers.
But I do get out sometimes! We only have a small garden but it’s crammed full of flowers and soft fruit, so we have something beautiful to look at as well as to harvest. I’m editor of a small press magazine called Pennine Ink and a long-time member of the writing group of the same name (see our website: pennineink.weebly.com). I’m also a member of Burnley and District Writers and am vice-chair as well as running the in-house annual competition. I also deal with all the emails for both groups. I run a reading group at our local library – had some brilliant reads lately.
At present, I only teach part-time at a homework club. You have to be on the ball, because someone will come in with Maths, another with Science, another with Geography, or French, or R.E. or I.T. – and I have to be au fait with it all. We don’t have any computers – only books, most of which are out of date. I’ve had to do a fair bit of research at times, but I always manage in the end. It’s a challenge – keeps my brain ticking over.
One of my students came back for a visit recently. Haven’t seen him for ten years. He’s now studying to be an eye-surgeon, has a restaurant and does a lot of charity work. So proud of him and of all my students who’ve done well in their lives.
What’s next for me? A move to a house with a bigger garden, we hope. More time to spend with our grandchild.
But I will never abandon my writing. It’s who I am – what I do – what I love. Ugly Tuckling by G.L. Sheridan.