Chips off the old writer’s block




It would appear that next week’s break with my children may be a bit of a busman’s holiday: Based on the emails I’ve had from both of them, we’re going to be doing quite a lot of writing. I’ve checked, double-checked and checked again; made sure that they’re not just humouring me: No; For whatever reason, they want to write some stories.

I suppose if you’re nine or 11 years old and you’ve got a dad who’s a writer, it could be quite cool to write some stories with him. For my part, I’m proud; of my children, but what father isn’t? I’ve been told that I should be proud of myself: Something I’ve not been for quite some time, since I let everyone down. As with so many other things, I wish I’d not had an alcoholic breakdown but the life which has come about since is better than any period in my life before, even when I had money.

My daughter has drawn all of the pictures I need for the children’s book I (WE!) are publishing, so we’ll be putting that together over the course of next week. My son is using three of my short stories for a website he’s building and I dare say I’ll be helping with that as well. What’s most exciting though is the new book: Cyrus Song. Both kids love the two short stories which started that off and both are keen to be a part of the ongoing process. I suppose when your dad is a writer and he can imagine talking animals, that’s pretty cool too.

Of course, we’ll be going out to various places with my parents but the main thing the kids want to do is help with my new book. I’ve got a pretty vivid imagination (It helps in my job) but to have their input will make this new project even more magical than it is already. I suppose it doesn’t get much better when you’re their age than having a dad who’s a writer and who can bring characters of their imagining to life, as they sit with me and watch that process. For the sake of everyone, I’ll set appropriate times for me and my co-authors to work together.

It really is the case that my kids are proud of me, despite everything. I already knew that my parents have a sense of pride in what I’ve become and next week, we’ll all be in the same place, where the elders can see the youngsters writing with me. What a wonderful life. It’s just a shame it took such a long time to realise.

So, a week off? From writing? Difficult though it may have been to drag myself from something I enjoy so much, my kids are more important. If they want to watch, learn and provide input, who am I to argue? The writing life never stops and it’s even better when there are people along to enjoy the ride.

So far in the Cyrus Song book, there have only been a small cast of animal characters, as I try to concentrate on the ongoing plot and narrative. By the end of next week, I expect to have a large menagerie. I can see how it’ll go already: The kids make it all up during the evening and I turn it into magic later, for them to read the next day. I’ll post updates as the schedule permits but I really don’t think I’m going to get much free time: How fucking splendid!

Almost as splendid as all of that is a little program I’ve installed on this very typewriter (a Windows 10 laptop): It’s the best retro geek thing a writer could wish for; Called “Qwertick”, it makes my keyboard sound like a typewriter: My life is complete. And the typewriter will travel with me next week.

I never qualified in my last diary entry, quite why it’s comforting to remind myself that I’m a writer: It’s for when I’m out of my comfort zone. Away from home. I get anxious and paranoid, so being able to reassure myself that I’m a writer is a coping mechanism. Next week, when I’m out and about with the kids, I have two little reasons to be proud. I shouldn’t need my coping mechanism.

But if anyone asks my kids what their dad does, I know that they’re quite proud to tell people that he’s a writer.

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