So I’m really not so good with Livejournal – keeping up with it clearly isn’t my strong suit and I notice that I’ve been almost entirely absent from it for a couple of months now. Where’d the time go?! Anyways, I find myself sitting on a bridge in the pouring rain, going nowhere so really I seem to be running out of excuses to post now.
Fortunately the laptop’s not getting wet, unfortunately I’m on a train where at ten in the morning they only just seem to have noticed that the engineering works on the line that happened overnight, haven’t finished yet. So we’re just hanging out on a tiny bridge over some stream half an hour out of Glasgow, waiting for them to put the train line back together. You’ve got to love Britain…
Needless to say, it’s summer here so the rain has been hooning down all day, proper Glasgow I-ain’t-giving-up-for-days type rain. I could of course be writing the novel now, or reading the excellent Wolf Hall that I’m about a hundred pages into, but with Nick Drake playing on my zen I’m just feeling too reflective for any of that. Plus, I think it’s sunday. I’m not so sure, because I tend to lose track of time north of the border, but Sunday sounds about right. We’ve been up here for my mother-in-law’s retirement party, which was a blast but reminds me how I always should give up alcohol for the preceding week and detox afterwards. Somehow that just doesn’t seem to happen though, and because the wife’s a lovely lass with far more social skills than yours truly, there are lots of people up here who want to see us and buy us drinks! A hard life I know, but the liver’s suffering this morning, despite my fourth of fifth bacon sarnie of the week, it being my favoured remedy for the fact I can’t handle my booze.
There is the minor detail of working off all the food I’ve shovelled down my face this week. Some lovely food, both out and at my sister-in-law’s reminds me how much of a glutton I am. In Dundee we had some of the best mussels I’ve had in years, in Glasgow one of the best burgers (surf n’ turf – what a fine idea) and in between it was all great aside from the pub last night where it was merely ok. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d force myself to commute before and after work by walking round the block for an hour or so but somehow I think that’s not a promise worth making even to myself. The outdoors is fine and all, but I like my trees and coobeasties at a picturesque remove from which I can still get a wifi connection.
I realise it been a year since I was up here last, a year next week since our wedding and I continue to be as feckless and childish as before. I like to think of myself as an example to others that marriage isn’t actually scary, and you don’t have to be grown up to do it. We’re past the ‘holy crap, we’re married’ stage, but it does still feel funny that there was no one checking the licence saying "I’m sorry Mr Lloyd-Williams, it says here you continue to make Monty Python jokes at every possible opportunity and your wife still sniggers every time she sees the word ‘flaps’ or a tube station that has ‘cock’ in the name. Neither of you are grown-up enough to be a married couple, please try again next year."
[Actually, on the subject of funny names, the stop before where our friend Jennny lives is called Crossmyloof – genius, right?! Why isn’t England this funny? I’d not resent my council tax nearly so much if we had more places like that around. The occasional arse-end of Somerset called Tit’s Up or something just isn’t enough cos I never go there.]
Inevitably people have started asking when the kids are coming. My wife’s standard response is to raise her gin glass and beam – oddly enough the question’s not arisen when she’s not had a gin in her hand, the one time it’s surely obvious she’s not planning on any yet! Still, maybe that tells you more about our friends than anyone else. I was going to write that book 5 will have to happen before kids, but I guess that’s a pretty pointless statement actually. Handing in a book does still feel like a milestone, but life can’t be separated into times when I’m not writing and times when I am. The last six months notwithstanding (I’ve been doing my usual recovering/planning the next plus a bit of short story stuff) I don’t get the luxury of not writing and with the idea of kids on the horizon that’s hardly likely to change. It might be far from glamorous but it’s my job rather than my vocation. It might be my vocation as well, but with a wife and vague thoughts of a family I don’t have time for indulging in the romance of writing. I’ve got money to earn in anticipation of the years where my advances drop, books don’t sell, or anything else that might screw up the whole ‘paying for food and housing’ thing.
This is probably why I shouldn’t get an Xbox live subscription, despite suggestions that it’d be great. I suspect it’ll be manageable, the only concern I have on the writing front right now is that I’m not worried at all (well, aside from the usual fears that the reviews for book 4 will be a kick in the crotch). Hopefully it’s experience of previous books that’s leaving me not worried about it. As yet I’ve not written much of Dusk Watchman because I’ve not really been trying until June, focusing on working the plot out in my head properly, but still my natural instincts are to fear the deadline now it’s less than a year off. How the hell I’ll get myself working when I sell a book with a fully-formed synopsis written I don’t know. Every book since I got a contract has had a start and an end, nothing more – the gaps get filled in later. I’m honestly wondering whether if I plan something too carefully in advance I’ll get bored writing it! We shall see one day perhaps, but the more I think about Moon’s Artifice the more I think I need to twist the book idea around to make it more interesting to read, so no time in the near future will I be so organised.
Aha, the train is now moving and we have some better scenery than a field. There are hills and stuff now so I’m going to stare at them and dream of blood-crazed axe-wielding hordes charging down them. Once I properly read my office emails there may be more hate and bile on this page so until then, consider the lillies.