I wrote long, profane piece about how the Paris attacks brought out the racists (Blinks of Bicester) and the mean pricks (this piece of sanctimonious clickbait), but I got rid of it. I guess you know about all that crap already – you seem like a smart bunch.
I had a wisdom tooth removed. If you’ve been following my riveting Twitter feed, this will come as no surprise. If you haven’t, follow my fucking Twitter, yeah?
My brother calmed me beforehand by sending me pictures of Dr Szell from Marathon Man.
Is it safe?
Anyway, during the consultation with the surgeon (nice chap considering he had a goatee), I was told he could simply sedate me rather than put me under general for the procedure. I’d been trying to write some horror around that time and I thought that being awake during this horrific, bloody extraction would give me some great material.
A true artist suffers for his art, right?
Unfortunately, the sedation was far stronger than I realised. He put a needle into my vein and 30 seconds later I was in La La Land. I enjoyed that. But the next thing I knew, I was sitting in the recovery room, pushing a gauze onto the bleeding hole in my gum and saying to the nurse, “What’s the name of the drug you gave me? I’d quite like to get my hands on some.”
On the way home, the Uber driver and I sang along to Tupac together. It was a riot.
However, the gory details were in a locked box, deep in my overcrowded subconscious. Disappointing.
In the few days post-op, I couldn’t read and I couldn’t write due to the entire right side of my head feeling like it had been skull-fucked by Dirk Diggler. So I spent that time on the sofa watching films and TV shows.
I was underwhelmed with Jessica Jones, although it did convince me to get my hair cut like David Tennant.
The rest was trite horror (Knock Knock and The Green Inferno) and ridiculous blockbusters (Jurassic World and the first 20 minutes of Terminator Genisys).
At some point I started to watch Jodorowsky’s Dune – a documentary about a failed ‘70s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel by avant-garde director Alejandro Jodorowsky. It got rave reviews and has been hailed as The Greatest Movie Never Made. Now, I love the novel – it’s right up there with Asimov’s original Foundation Trilogy for me – but by the end of the doc I was very relieved this guy never got to make the film because his take on it was, frankly, fucking terrible. He reminded me of that ketamine-hazy dick I used to get stuck talking to at parties. They’d drone on, unprompted, about their art (or whatever) and how they had this vision, man. You know people who put themselves on some sort of artistic pedestal? I could never figure that out. Lazily, I put it down to bad parenting, but it probably goes deeper. Pop psychology notwithstanding, my evening would dwindle into boredom by this self-obsessed, fun-sucking vampire. I remember one called Susanne. Christ. She spent half an hour talking about her crap paintings and then called me a capitalist because I owned a TV. I said “Well how else am I supposed to watch Hollyoaks?” And that was the end of that conversation. Anyway, Jodorowsky – crap artist, self-deluded.
Returning to my sick-bed martyrdom, finally the cock was removed from my cranium and I got back to writing. I started editing a short story I’d been working on. Scary, concise; actually not too bad at all. I used my strengths (first person narrative, slightly skewed view on the world) and concentrated on my weakness (pacing and character). And then I edited it again. And then again. And then I realised I have scores of short stories I have edited the fuck out of until I am convinced they are terrible.
My question is: When do you stop editing? Because I really could keep working on the same 3,000 words for 10 years and I still wouldn’t be happy with them. Somewhere in the editing process, the vitality of my initial idea gets lost amongst these conventions I feel obliged to follow.
When do you draw a line under it all?