I’ve had Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” in my head for the last 6 hours, so this entry may be a little skittish.
As we move into 2016 (9 years longer than I planned on living, when I was adamant on joining the 27 Club), plans are afoot. This year I have written around 200,000 words. I reckon about 50,000 are decent. The rest were practice. And you need to practice, right? You need to fuck it up. Nobody cooks a good Baked Alaska on their first attempt.
The grand novel! The mighty tome that you can show to all your family and will forever be used to impress – and, let’s face it, belittle – your peers. Well, I’m not going to knocking one of those out anytime soon. Although I do have aspirations…
I like to think of myself as a no-bullshit man. Concise. Direct. Sometimes that doesn’t work too well in real life (aka IRL). For example, my boss has just booked me on a Conflict Resolution course. I said it was fucking pointless. I didn’t win the argument.
However, there are times when this trait (I like to think of it more as a quality) is useful. And one of those is when writing short stories.
Unlike their sartorial namesake, I love shorts. They’re so fun! I don’t get bored writing them and they suit my style (I think… Do I even have a style…? Who knows? Who fucking cares?)
So I’m sitting in the hot tub in the gym (standard Tuesday lunch break in December as I skip between hangover and party time) and I’m composing a scene in which two lovers burn to death for this short story called Sleeping Pills (or it might be called She’s Everywhere, I haven’t decided yet). Do I put them in a car? A hotel room? A locked toilet cubicle in a bar (that’ll teach them for the PDA)? I don’t know. But this is the joyous part of writing.
And then I think…Hmmm…I’m almost ready to publish a tale or two.
Then I consider logistics and the bullshit that involves. Jesus!
Well, I was going to ask this graphic designer friend of mine to knock up a few covers. I’d pay him, of course – I’m quite good with that. But then he had a small Christmas gathering at his place and didn’t invite me. So I thought, Fuck him. I never really liked the guy anyway. I’ll use that cash to buy Photoshop and do it myself. I mean, how hard can it be?
Turns out it’s pretty hard.
But it’s not impossible.
And before you commit your name to the cover, is it right?
Maybe I’ll lose the middle J.
Yeah, that has a nicer ring to it.
Less try hard.
Mind you, assuming a bunch of strangers will be remotely interested in your fictional ramblings will always carry with it a certain amount of ostentatiousness.
So rather than write the marvellous scene where this beautiful couple get burned alive (maybe he survives and is in a coma for the rest of the story…? Yes!), now I’ve got to dick around with domain names and Twitter handles.
And then after that, I’ve got to learn how fucking Photoshop works because I don’t trust anyone else to do that shit for me. I mean have you seen some of those covers on Amazon?
Ugh. Admin. I bet James Patterson doesn’t have to deal with this crap.
And that profile picture. I thought it was pretty sleek when I first took it. Nice little Instagram filter. Moody. Beard’s looking nice. Gravitas.
Six months later, I think it makes me look like a cunt.
Gravlax, more like.
So that’s gotta go. I’ll be replacing it with a dick pic, obviously…
Ah, but it’s Christmas! The time for jubilation and Prosecco. I can’t drink Prosecco anymore because I started the Golden Jubilee off drinking gin and Prosecco cocktails (10am) and ended it in bed with a Scottish girl who never talked to me again (4am).
Every time I drink it, I taste Queen Liz.
So that rules out the bubbly at parties. I usually turn up with a bottle of Scotch and nurse it, quietly seething that my night is being stolen by these stupid social obligations.
Life is what happens when you’re making plans. True, I guess. No wonder there are so many half-assed attempts at art in the world. It would be so easy to say “Fuck it, it’s done” and whack some unedited, flabby work of fiction into the black hole of Amazon.
But I’ve got a little more integrity than that. Which blows, because I often wish I didn’t.
Changes are coming. I’ll be rebranding. Ugh. Makes me sound like a chain of sandwich shops.