Something for the weekend



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I have many plans for the weekend but none involve going to the barber: I don’t need to as I do my own hair with clippers, I’m always “between styles” and I wear a hat of the baseball cap or trilby variety. The long weekend does culminate in a bank holiday Monday which happens to be my birthday but that’s irrelevant and I’ll be spending the weekend much like any other. There will be invitations and suggestions that I might want to go out and “enjoy yourself” but those are usually from people who do indeed want to enjoy themselves.

By strange coincidence, the barber I used to visit with my dad was in this little village where I now live. It’s no longer a barber’s shop because old Barry is long gone and that shop sort of fitted around him. And I do mean that almost literally: Barry the barber was a rather large chap. I remember being plonked on a plank of wood over the arms of his chair and having my hair cut while big Baz chatted to my father and other assembled punters, all puffing away on roll-ups. My dandruff got worse every time I went there, as fag ash fell from a cigarette in Baz’s gob. Those were happy days, as long as 40 years ago in this very village where I now hope to settle.

The combination of village life, the little mews where I live and all of the neighbours, and this little studio, make life rather worth living at the moment.

Some things in this village are very much as village life once was, or life generally for that matter. Just this morning, I needed to book an appointment to see my GP: I shall see my doctor three weeks hence; no, really. I’m used to booking GP appointments in London, where you have to call on the morning of the day that you need to see someone. I’ll reserve all observations about the age of the general populace and think more poetically of how things are so laid back around here that the next available doctor is three weeks away. The receptionist was keen to point out that if I had something in need of urgent attention, I could attend a surgery outside the village and could she enquire what might be wrong, please?

Back at home, the new typewriter has come into its own, as I expected when it’s come to things which I should never have been asking of the little netbook I used to use. It would have taken the latter a week or more to compile my anthology of short stories and it wouldn’t have handled the rest of the publishing process. Most of that is still to come but it will be a synch with this new computer from the mother ship: thanks mum and dad x

With all of my short stories pulled into one volume, I’m becoming aware of the task ahead: a fuck load of editing, to get the thing just right before I self-publish. Somewhere down the line, I may be successful enough to have that sort of thing done for me but that would also involve having to answer to someone else. So for now, I’m just fine.

Myself and the typewriter started making some cosmetic changes to both this blog and my personal website: There’s a lot still to do but it’s in the back seat while I work on The Perpetuity of Memory. And with that in hand, I’ve been able to return to the alternative universe which is Infana Kolonia, my next sci-fi novel. It’s great to be back in amongst characters I’d left in limbo and moving us all on again. When I got back to the writing, it was almost as though I’d been missed by some of the people there too. It’s me that needs to sort out the mess they’re in after all.

Despite being meticulous about keeping notes, filing clippings and holding it all together in my Filofax, I somehow managed to lose the plot with the new novel. It needn’t have mattered, because my characters showed me the way. Sounds wanky, I know but it’s the way it works. Myself and those characters of my making are embarking on some pretty big adventures and now that it’s all back on, my space epic is looking good for being finished this year. Given how long the editing of the anthology is looking like taking, I’m scheduling six months to polish up the novel. I’m confident enough of it that on the back of me self publishing the short story collection, Infana Kolonia might actually get picked up by an agent or a publisher. It’s my job as the writer to do the sales and marketing but with everything else being made so easy, I have time to punt the book around.

So although this weekend is my birthday, my 46th is hardly something to celebrate, apart from being thankful that I’m still alive. That’s something I’ve learned to appreciate more, just as I’m able to accept in sobriety that I am now a writer. No, I shall smoke a bit more than usual and perhaps treat myself to a take-away. I might go for a walk in the countryside nearby and have a pint in the local. Then I’ll come home with all best intentions of watching a film. I just know that I’ll end up writing. And if that’s what I want to do because it’s what I enjoy the most, who would stop me?

My adopted little sister – The Courts – turned up at my place in the week, as she needed somewhere to crash. I was happy to oblige, now that I have my own place. We sat and talked while she listened to music and I just carried on doing what I do. I finished the last story in The Perpetuity of Memory while she was here and she genuinely meant it when she said, “You’ve achieved so much in the time I’ve know you bruv.” It’s been three years: a blink of an eye and a lifetime. She asked me: “Would you ever get tired of writing?”

Would I ever grow tired of writing? It reminds me of that other question: If there was a big red button which would switch off all of the misfiring synapses in my brain; If that button would get rid of the depression but also the manics; If I could trade in my memories to save my life, would I do it? And: Do I want to do anything “special” for my birthday?


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