It’s not often I write something reflective, believing that the work should speak for itself, but I’m going to indulge myself for once.
I’ve been editing the manuscript for my next novel Boys from the Backfields. It’s been a long project. I wrote the first draft of the book in the mid-nineties, almost twenty years ago. I got some interest from a big name literary agent at the time, but through naivety or stupidity I blew it.
The book was written in two parts. Grandly, I named them Book One and Book Two, like it was a great saga. In fact the novel only ran to 70,000 words. The agent loved Book One, but felt that it could be extended into a full novel, leaving my precious Book Two to fall off the edge of the desk into the dustbin. I protested, and argued my case, Book Two was what it was really all about, the whole point of Book One was to set things up for Book Two. Correspondence ceased, I was cut adrift. Touchy bastards those agents. Continue reading
The fucking mice are back. I know they’re there. They’re crawling under the fucking floorboards. The cheeky fuckers are even hiding under the settee. I saw one last night, a dark beige flash, zipping from the side of the settee towards the hole in the floorboards. It’s my own fault. There shouldn’t be a hole in the floorboards. It’s as easy as that; all you’ve got to do is give them a fucking excuse and they’re in. It doesn’t have to be anything major, a little gap in the bottom of the back door, a small crack in the floorboards, and that’s enough; that’s all they need. Continue reading
I don’t know how this is going to turn out, but while Cheats and Liars is cooking I’m looking at all my works-in-progress deciding what story to focus on next. Trouble is, there’s a lot to choose from and I really would like to work on them all.
Here’s a batch under consideration.
From the Backfields
The favourite at the moment is From the Backfields. The first draft of this was written about 15 years ago. It’s been lingering at the bottom of a drawer and at the back of my consciousness ever since.
From the Backfields is set in the Welsh seaside town of Elchurch and follows Mick, a man puzzled by the mysteries of his own life, for 50 years. The story starts in 1963 when Mick is just 13 years old.
Elchurch is really Llanelli in a parallel universe. Perhaps all stories come from parallel universes, or, maybe, a parallel universe is created every time someone tells a story.
There’s a story in there somewhere. Continue reading
Things fail – bicycles, cars, washing machines, governments, recipes and businesses. A failure is something that has failed, fair enough. For me though, that word has always been impossible to apply to a person. Someone who failed to make an appointment because of a traffic jam may have failed to arrive on time but is not a failure. Life is a complex web of possibilities and the choices we make about which threads to navigate are influenced by every micro-facet of our existence, whether we are aware of it or not.
Blame is another word I have a problem with. It’s a very negative word and is used to attack and hurt people. This doesn’t mean that people are not responsible for the choices they make, responsibility is not blame, though the two terms are often used the same way. The point is, life is complex and as tiny creatures in this infinite universe where every nano action ultimately has an effect on everything, we can only pray we are making the right choices as we step onto the tightropes of those threads.
That’s the hypothesis. Now to the real world – I am a failure, I am to blame. It’s true. Continue reading