Finished! Please May I Leave The Table?
Truman Capote once said ‘No book is ever finished. They just take it away from you’. It’s how I feel about every book I ‘finish’, and is certainly true of ‘Dream World’, the longest novel I’ve written for years, if nothing else.
As usual, it started as one kind of book and morphed into something completely different, and I have no idea why. Part homage to J G Ballard, part thriller, part don’t-know-what, it seems to work, but then I’m the only person who has read it so far. It only exists on my laptop, on the flash drive that’s attached to my key-ring, and in my head.
I’ve spent a long time on it. Only yesterday did I realise that I was putting in a rough average of fourteen hour days, for no pay of course because it’s not commissioned, it’s just something I wanted to do. No, scratch ‘wanted’, replaced with ‘needed’.
The usual thoughts go through my head; what if it’s shit? What if it’s good but makes no sense in its present form? Reviewers often start their pieces on me by saying ‘He has lost none of his…’ as if constantly waiting for me to lose my brains. That usually doesn’t happen with writers. The longer you do any job you love, the better you get at it. I would have thought that was blindingly obvious.
Certainly my favourite teachers at school were all in their sixties, and were damned brilliant. Part of the deal is that you must keep proving yourself – that’s fine, because no-one should coast on past success, unless they’re Sting.
So, that’s finished – next up will be ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’. But first – the sun has made a rare London appearance, so I’ll be taking the day off.