The week of abstinence from my novel and its characters finally came to an end. This morning I dragged myself and my bourbon hangover out of bed at 6am and started working on the final third of the second draft.

But is it a hangover? I don’t recall drinking that much. Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Sickness. And we all know, from being educated with decades of Lemsip adverts, that sickness equals weakness.

Unlike my narrator, who would just key a bump of gak to overcome such ailments, I have to make do with Ibuprofen and coffee.

The fictional world seems to be devoid of illness unless it adds to the plot or the characterisation. Rarely do you read a novel where everyday sickness is mentioned. Why? Because it’s boring. Being ill is boring. I’m not talking terminal here – that’s an A Plot in itself – I’m talking a week to ten days of an aching back or a head cold.

Jimmy woke up with the sniffles.

Sarah had a mild headache.

 Nobody wants to read that.

I like fiction – you can cut out the shit. Unfortunately, the real world is far flabbier. I have a friend who I see very rarely. We have this honest rapport upon saying hello.

‘Hi Peter,’ I’ll say.

‘All right, Jack?’

‘How are you?’

‘Well,’ Peter says, ‘to be honest, I’ve had a pretty shit day. Ate a ham sandwich for lunch. Four out of ten. Considered having a mid-afternoon wank, but what’s the point? Just went to sleep instead. How are you?’

‘Ah Pete, I’m average. I have a slight ache in my left foot here I banged it on a door last Monday and my ex – you know, the one with the hair extensions? – she’s pregnant. Ain’t mine, but she’s still texting, asking if I’ll come over and watch Late Night Hollyoaks with her and her fucking dog. What’s the point?’

This is all a far cry from the scene I was immersed in this morning in which a doctor cures a deadly disease. Futuristic labs, corrupt politicians, human guinea pigs. Amazing! I wanna stay there. Please don’t take me away!

But unfortunately, by 8am, it’s signalling problems around Finsbury Park and an old guy with a peeling leather briefcase resting his broadsheet on my knee. Do I look like a fucking coffee table?

I’ve lost my flow now – someone has just seen a mouse scurrying around the office floor and the place is in uproar. Nobody laughed when I said ‘He’s probably in compliance.’ My talents are wasted in this place.

Still, I do enjoy a little disorder, even if it is over a fucking mouse.

I don’t seem to have a point today. Fictional Worlds > Real Worlds. Was that it? That was probably what I was getting at.

In other news, I’m thinking about jacking it all in (pun certainly intended) and becoming an artist. Another sample of my drawing skills is this post’s featured image. Solid gold. Modern art, innit? Commentary on the state of society or sumfink. Watch out, Damien Hirst.

Anyway, this mouse, yeah. Ohh, did you see it? It was small and grey and it looked just like a mouse.

Jesus Christ.


  1. My never-ending work-in-progress features a doctor (a World War II-era ob-gyn, to be exact), so he deals with “sickness” and the frailness of human flesh every day. But you’re right, now that I think about it, I’ve no interest whatsoever in writing about the everyday cold or flu. That’s so dull, so pedestrian. It’s more interesting to write about the pain and agony of giving birth, or stitching up battle wounds and dealing with malaria or dysentery. Now those are illnesses I relish.


  2. Well you certainly gave me a few chuckles this morning – and definitely your talent is wasted in the worksite if they didn’t find that little gem on compliance hilarious. What is that saying – a good story is life with all the boring bits taken out. So true – you know immediately when you read something by a writer who hasn’t got this. We need to trust the reader to fill in some of the blanks. I seriously doubt there is a reader out there who enjoys a detailed description of how a guy (or gal) gets up, brushes his teeth, has a shower, gets dressed (with full description of what said person is wearing), prepares and eats breakfast, packs his briefcase, gets out the door, starts the car etc. etc. etc. into boring ad infinitum. But of course it takes a certain amount of confidence to trust the reader – right? Thanks for a great post.


  3. Wasted wit in the workplace is the worst….and so is unintentional alliteration. Sorry for that. Ha.. But thanks for the laugh! You should get a shirt made that says Fictional Worlds > Real Worlds because really, no truer statement.


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