THE WRITER’S LIFE
Sometimes, something’s too long for a social media post but not long enough for a story. Just occasionally, it can’t be contained. That’s where having a blog comes in handy. Sometimes, I just want to get something off of my chest: If it’s burning a hole in my heart, it’s better out there. So, from my thought diary; and my heart…
There are many things which confuse me in life: I’ve sort of begun to work out what life itself might be all about but I struggle with the details. Forgetting for a moment my constant struggle with rabbits (They always look like they’re about to say something), there are many other things which occupy my mind, like why does my face get wet when I see or hear something beautiful, and why is the O2 network so shit?
I’ve lived at The Studio for almost five months now and no matter what day it is, or what the time of day might be, around here at least, the network connection just makes things up as it goes along. There’s apparently a mast near here somewhere, which engineers are working on. Every single day, when I have a connection, it’s being worked on. No matter how many times I’ve walked around this little village, on no occasion have I seen anything resembling an engineer working on a transmitter. I know that transmitters tend to be visually unobtrusive, but engineers? O2 either employ very small ones, or they’re using cloaking devices. That certainly seems to be the case with the network signal.
At best, the signal is intermittent but even when all of the on-screen and other signs indicate that there is a connection, there in fact isn’t. For this, I pay £25 a month on my PAYG phone: A situation dictated by being a former bankrupt with no credit score, meaning that I can have neither a contract phone or broadband account. I pay over the odds for less than most people and often get nothing. But I digress, in the hope that someone from my fucking mobile company might happen to read this. If they are: You’re a bunch of thieving, hostage-holding cunts.
And so to my face, which is prone to inclemency: This is something which has emerged since I sobered up. I get that alcohol deadens the emotions but it’s like all of mine were stored up for the whole time I was drinking and now they’re wreaking some sort of revenge.
I suppose an email from each of my children telling me how much they love some of my stories (the ones which are suitable for them to read) is going to do it, when I see them so little. I know that their mum would have been behind them somewhere with a proverbial cattle prod and the threat of food rationing but they’ve both said that they’d like to do some work with me during the time that we’re together next week at my parents’. I’m not kidding myself and I’m not being humoured: The littlest has sent me around a dozen illustrations for the children’s book I’ve had planned for a while now. The eldest is building a website for a school project and has asked my permission to feature three of my stories.
The littlest first: I wrote A girl, Frank Burnside and Haile Selassie about a year ago now and it won first prize in a “Life-changing” short story competition run by Writing Magazine. The editor suggested that it’s exactly the kind of approach which mainstream publishers are looking for in children’s literature when dealing with serious life events. I never approached a publisher because I didn’t want to be lumbered with an illustrator straight out of central casting. At one point it was going to be a photo book, using family photos from two of my closest friends.
But I had a vision and I really wanted to stick with that, just as I did the book title, which a mainstream publisher would probably ask me to change. Originally, the story was called The child who wished for nothing. Frank Burnside and Haile Selassie came about because those were the personifications of the dog and cat respectively in the story. I really wanted it to be illustrated by my daughter (aged nine). She’d told me before that she loved the story and tonight, she sent me some pictures. The email told me where the individual pictures are to appear in the story and they are reflective of the scenes which they are to be placed into. It all means that she’s not been put up to it, she genuinely likes the story and she wants to be a part of what her dad does.
The eldest is 11 and (as well as his sister), he’s taken a shine to the Cyrus stories (one on this blog; the other coming at the weekend): He’s asked for permission to use them on a website he’s building for a school project. He wrote a story of his own a few months back (which had merit) and he’s asked if we can complete it together when he’s staying with me next week. Then both kids have asked if we can do some writing while they’re down.
I have the proof and there is no thunder which anyone can steal: The fact is, my two children are interested in what their dad does, to the extent that they want to be involved. I’d almost go so far as to say that they might be proud.
No wonder my face is wet.
And all of that was apropos of nothing, other than an ability to write.