Paperback Writer

Having previously delved into my family history (despite being disowned, I still have a son to continue the name should he so choose), today’s library reference session was into the family name:
This famous and interesting name is English. It has three possible origins, although all overlap and have fused with time. The first is residential and pre -7th century Olde English. It derives from the word “lacu” meaning a stream, and hence would have described one who lived or worked by such a place, the second is also residential but from the Roman (Latin) word “lacus”, which means a lake or still water. In these contexts it may also have descibed an inhabitant of villages such as Lake in the county of Wiltshire, or Laker Lodge in the county of Sussex. The third possibility is occupational for one who “laiked”; an early English word for doing work, and one that was still in popular use in Yorkshire in the 20th century. In this case it may have been applied to any useful work. The village of ‘Lake’ appears in the Feudal Rolls of the county of Wiltshire in the year 1316, whilst Laker’s Lodge is now a diminished hamlet near the village of Wisborough Green in the county of Sussex. Modern forms of the surname include Lake, Lack, Lakes, Laker and Lakeman. Early examples of the surname recording include John Lakeman of Essex in the year 1320, William le Lakere of Hampshire in 1325, and Robert Laker of Sussex in the wills record of 1595. William Lake was an early emigrant to the colonies of New England, leaving the port of London on the ship ‘Assurance’ in July 1635, bound for Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de la Lake. This was dated 1200, in the Shropshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King John, 1199 – 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

I also poured over the censuses going back to 1841 and was able to confirm what I’d discovered when I previously undertook similar research: that some of my family’s ancestors emigrated to America and became very wealthy there. Quite spooky parallels to Victor Frank, his son and the son’s adoptive parents.
The plot for the novel continues to be fleshed out and is really taking shape. I’m currently working on character profiles and biographies. Masses of research to do, into family names, locations and so on.
Today I founded Gilbert House Publishing: this is not a limited company but a trading name for when I’m a sole trader at some point. Until then, I’m not earning anything from what will be my publishing vehicle, so I may continue to claim any benefits I’m entitled to (finally got the forms through today to my care-of address) whilst writing, which is my therapy.
As well as being encouraged by CRI as a therapy, they run the creative writing courses previously mentioned (starting next week as it turns out). I was talking to the course co-ordinator today and besides the actual course, they offer residential away breaks / workshops, which I’ll be attending: busman’s holiday. In addition, the writing group gains access to various resources, including published authors who can mentor, agents and publishers. There’s also a quarterly anthology of members’ work published by CRI: my short stories are likely to appear in that. It’s support among peers and mentors and a route to writing professionally. So I hope my doubters might now stop doubting and see that I’ve engaged with CRI recovery; not only in recovery but in achieving an ambition, which they recognise as being realistic and which they encourage. And all of this virtually guarantees that my Small Sparks application for the netbook / tablet will be approved, as I’m engaging. 
This is the new life I’ve chosen, as it’s the route which is really going places. I’ll take casual work when I can and I’ll continue to work on the practical stuff but when it comes to work, this is what I want to do and I don’t see that I’ll get a better opportunity. I never liked working for someone else anyway. So I’m effectively self-employed as a writer, albeit on a zero wage. Writing is what I love and I rate job satisfaction over financial reward (that will come).
I know I’ll be branded foolhardy and irresponsible by some but this is the way for me to go: my chosen route. Shitty bits aside, I almost wouldn’t swap this new life for the old ones. I miss the home comforts but this is much more enlightening. That’ll be branded a selfish sentiment but it’s what makes me better that counts and this is it; and I’ve been told to concentrate on myself.
There is much to do with Gilbert House Publishing, just as there is a lot of work still to do on the book but I hope my detractors will write this in their diaries, tear out the page and smoke it: like Kaiser Soze, I’m gone in a puff of smoke.
The old life just ended. I didn’t kill myself, although the treatment and lack of support I received from many people might well have led me to do so. I AM working; I AM NOT wasting time: I’m getting better and better. Inner resolve and self-belief, as well as the few who also believe, are what have kept me afloat. And now things really are afloat. It’ll take a long time but time is something I have plenty of.
If I’m branded selfish, I’ll live with it; selfishly. It’s all about me.
There’s casual work (less than 16 hours per week to maintain benefit income) to make ends meet whilst the writing goes on. Myself and my agent feel it could be 2-3 years before the final thing is ready, even if I work on it as much as possible around the casual work (I don’t tend to sleep much).

I always knew that the life of a writer was tough and now I’m really living it (and loving it). 

4 thoughts on “Paperback Writer

  1. All well and good Fred, but are you going full Bukowski on us, or are you actually receiving treatment for your alcoholism, as has been self acknowledged ?
    Are you entering detox, as you have threatened on many occasions ?
    By the description you posted of Gilbert House (conveniently close to a cheap source of booze), it’s quite clear where your priorities lie.
    Maybe a post about your detox program would help those who you believe are your detractors understand.


  2. Mate, I’m only asking this as a concerned friend. I don’t think I’m alone in worrying about your well being, and giving up places in shelters is not going to aid your recovery. I want to see you recover and get better, and that includes detox for your alcoholism.


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