How a 'complete disaster' led one man to write a book and raise spirits

Thomas Mitchell to release book titled 'Today I F****d Up'

National News
NOT MY UTE: Thomas Mitchell (standing) picture with his wife's grandfather Ian O'Connor. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

NOT MY UTE: Thomas Mitchell (standing) picture with his wife's grandfather Ian O'Connor. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

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Thomas Mitchell is releasing the book titled 'Today I F****d Up'.

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A trip to meet his new girlfriend's grandparents that ended in disaster is the inspiration behind Thomas Mitchell's new book.

The book titled 'Today I F****d Up' is a collection of Mr Mitchell's and other peoples bad days which serve as a reminder that no matter how terrible things get, they could always be worse.

The first time author and freelance writer who also works in television said the idea came from a former employer and a classic family story.

"During COVID, I lost a lot of my work and I was speaking to an old boss of mine who works at a publishing company and she was after some ideas," Mr Mitchell said.

"Because it was such a grim time for everyone we started talking about stuff and she'd always loved this story I had of a horrific day out at the farm in Dubbo (in NSW's Central West) with my then girlfriend's (now wife) grandparents and we basically started talking about how the fact that everyone was in a state of worry and stuff, and how it was a good time to make people laugh so then we started to talk about how funny it is to find joy in other people's misfortune sometimes.

"I pitched her that, she got me to write up this sample chapter about my story in Dubbo and it went from there. Then I started to collect other people's worst days."

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Mr Mitchell said his story, involving the ute of his then girlfriend's granddad Ian O'Connor, is still brought up to this day.

Mitchell didn't have a driver's licence nor really knew how to drive when he ventured from Sydney to a Collie farm, and that resulted in him stalling Mr O'Connor ute several times before crashing through the entire back wall of his shed.

"The whole thing was a complete disaster but now it's become like family folklore," he said.

"I'm still not allowed to drive Kate's grandad anywhere, it's really been the gift that keeps on giving that story.

"I have obviously written a book about it now and I wrote a New York Times story about it, so I feel like I have come out on top at the end of the day."

Drawing on inspiration from one of Australia's oldest shows, Mr Mitchell feels that watching other people fail brings enjoyment to many.

"Australia's Funniest Home Videos, which was one of my favourite shows growing up, even though it may seem kind of base level but sometimes watching other people fail, I think it kind of makes us all relatable and sometimes it's just getting joy out of something and it doesn't have to be too serious or anything like that.

"I think it makes us appreciate our own stuff ups and that's why I think these stories are so relatable and in the book there is a bunch of stuff people can see happening to themselves.

"Every time I tell my story whether it be at dinner parties or whatever, the response was always tears of laughter so it was a story that tested really well, when people are going through something and everything is going wrong for them it can be really funny."

Mr Mitchell's book will be released on March 3.

The story How a 'complete disaster' led one man to write a book and raise spirits first appeared on Daily Liberal.

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