Gallivanting with royalties


Some royalties
Some royalties

Yesterday was the first of two lunches this month, paid for by book royalties. I took my children to a pub, which is normal these days: I can be trusted around drink. There we enjoyed starters, mains with sides, desserts and drinks, at modest cost (it was a Wetherspoons), because my royalties are modest at best. But as I’ve said before, I’m not a writer for the money; days like yesterday are the reasons I do it.

The inevitable separation anxiety has kicked in today. Most people experience this sometimes but for me and many others, it’s particularly hard. It’s the come-down after a high. It’s being with someone and enjoying yourself so much that you can forget where you are. But the next day, you look around and it’s all gone. It’s not as painful as it used to be. Once, it was self-pity, because my drinking had brought about the family split. Now, with a lot of work from all parties, everything’s settled to a point where we can all agree that with hindsight, things have worked out for the best. Everyone is in the best place, especially the children, with a stable mum, in a stable relationship. But nevertheless, it hurts, and it’s compounded by depression.

But what am I to do? Start drinking again, to cope by blocking it all out? I think not. My children, and the many others who’ve regrouped around me, are many reasons not to lapse.

After lunch, and just as the pub started filling with wankers (there was a football match on), we departed to the shops. I have many friends who are football supporters but the men’s game holds no interest for me, given that it’s so capitalist and just not what I call sport. I accept that friends wish to watch matches in a group environment with their peers. I only wish that a minority would have a little respect for those around them, especially in a family environment. But live and let live, so we left.

In Waterstones (other book retailers are available), my son (aged 12) pointed a book out to me: Ideas Are Your Only Currency, by Rod Judkins (other books by other authors are available). Unsure if this was inspired or ironic, I flicked through the book and it’s perfect, for me, right now:


‘What skills and abilities will a student need to prosper in five, ten, or fifteen years’ time?’

In a world of change, where skills become out of date quickly, it is ideas that last.

We all need to be prepared for a world that is fluid, global and interdisciplinary. Distinctions between specialties will blur and overlap. Change is happening at electrifying speed. In this vortex there are no maps.

Featuring 100 interactive chapters to inspire groundbreaking new ideas, this is perfect for fans of Keri Smith’s Wreck this Journal, Paul Arden’s It’s Not How Good You Are and Rolf Dobelli’s global bestseller The Art of Thinking Clearly.

It’s not a self-help book. For me, it will be a reference tool; a source of ideas. Before I’ve even started to read it, I have a new short story in draft form: The Art of Thinking QWERTY.

Of course, the simple act of thinking more is something I’ve always advocated. For me, it’s creative thinking. For others, I just wish they weren’t so ignorant. I’ve been saying this in my general rhetoric and especially on social media: If we all just thought more, it would go some way to making life more tolerable. Some people get me, many don’t.

Next Sunday is the date for my next lunch with royalties, when I take my parents for Sunday roast at my local pub. It’s quite comforting sometimes, knowing that I’m the middle layer of generations in my family: It’s nice to have elders and younger people to talk to.

I’m the generational sandwich filling. I am Marmite.

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