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Nugget - Preface to Thank You, Jeeves  Abhilash Koneri
 Aug 21, 2000 03:59 PDT 
Preface to Thank You, Jeeves

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This is the first of the full-length novels about Jeeves
and Bertuie Wooster, and it is the only book of mine
which I tried to produce without sitting dow at the
typewriter and getting a crick in the back.

Not that I ever thought of dictating it to a
stenographer. How anybody can compose a story by
word of mouth, face to face with a bored looking
secretary with a notebook is more than I can imagine.
Yet many authors think nothing of saying 'Ready, Miss
Spelvin? Take dictation. Quote No comma Lord Jasper
Murgatroyd comma close quote said no better make it
hissed Evangeline comma quote I would not marry you
if you were the last man on earth close quote period
quote Well comma, I'm not the last man on earth
comma so the point does not arise comma close quote
replied Lord Jasper comma twirling his moustache
cynically period And so the long day wore on.'

If I started to do that sort of thing I should be feeling
all the time that the girl was saying to herself as she
took it down, 'Well comma this beats me period How
comma with home for the feeble-minded touting for
customers on every side comma has fathead like this
Wodehouse succeeded in remaining at large all these
years mark of interrogation.'

But I did get one of those machine where you talk
into a mouthpiece and have your observations recorded
on wax, and I started Thank you, Jeeves, on it. And after
the first few paragraphs I thought I would turn back and
play the stuff over to hear how it sounded.

It sounded too awful for human consumption. Until
that moment I had never realized that I had voice like
that of a very pompous school-master addressing the
young scholars in his charge from the pulpit in the
school chapel. There was a kind of foggy dreariness
about it that chilled the spirits. It stunned me, I had
been hoping, if all went well, to make Thank you,
Jeeves, an amusing book - gay, if you see what I mean
rollicking if you sill follow me and debonair, and it was
plain to me that a man with a voice like that could never
come within several miles of being debonair. With
him at the controls the thing would develop into one of
those dim tragedies of peasant life which we return to
the library after a quick glance at Page One. I sold the
machine next day and felt like the Ancient Mariner
which he got rid of the albatross. So now I confine myself
to the good old typewriter.

Writing my stories I enjoy. It is the thinking them out
that is apt to blot the sunshine from my life. You can't
think out plots like mine without getting a suspicion
from time to time that something has gone seriously
wrong with the brain's two hemispheres and the broad
band of transversely running fibers known as the corpus
collosum. It is my practice to make about 400 pages of
notes before starting a novel, and during this process
there always comes a moment when I say to myself 'Oh,
what a noble mind is here o'erthrown'. The odd thing is
that just as I am feeling that I must get a proproser
and seconder and have myself put up for the loony bin,
something always clicks and after that all is joy and
jollity.

P. G. Wodehouse
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