Walkin’ On The Sky

It has been what could safely be described as an ‘odd’ week, mainly due to being flattenned by illness. It hit me last Saturday, but was also a combination of a whole series of factors, from feeling run-down after the rewrite, an oncoming cold, gradually getting dehydrated, overeating, and a couple of other elements I could have done without. The end result was that while I was out and about on Saturday (which was a pretty hot day, after all), I suddenly started feeling exceptionally weird, and my body essentially went slightly nuts for the next forty-eight hours. My appetite shut down, I was incredibly dehydrated, and I’ve been spending most of this week recovering – early on, I actually had a couple of productive days, but ended up feeling worse as a result of them, so instead I’ve spent the last couple of days essentially under house arrest. I’m getting a couple of hours of proofreading done a day, and that’s it – and I’m going to keep it that way until at least Sunday. There are two advantages – one, things have gone a little quiet on the work front (just a lull, it ain’t scarily quiet yet), and two, I’ve built up enough of a backlog of incoming money that I can actually afford to not do very much for a little while. It is tough being ill while on your own – and sleep has been one of my biggest problems, with my average wake-up time for this week being about 4AM – but I’m coping pretty well, overall, and not letting it get me down.

Would be nice if my body would hurry up and get back to normal, though…

Mr Sleepy

Never make plans. Never stare yourself in the mirror and say “Tomorrow, the work TRULY begins!” When you do that, it usually means you’re in trouble. The last few days for me have been mainly taken up by attempting to recover from my cold, with some gradual work on the book crammed inbetween. Dad and Linda set off for their week in France this morning, so today would be the first time in nearly a week where I’d be virtually on my own (aside from Linda’s son Tom, who both works and has an active social life, so he’s barely here). Hurrah, I thought to myself. Time to knuckle down, and truly get some serious writing done.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, I ended up waking up at 5.10 in the morning, slightly hungry and completely unable to get to sleep. I filled time by watching some TV, had breakfast, finally started to feel human, went and bought stamps for a couple of letters in the nearby village, came back to the house, and promptly started to crash into a semi-conscious fug. I lasted writing about two sentences before I slumped back upstairs into bed at about 10.15. I then blinked, and it was 11.15. I then remember getting up, wandering to the bathroom, going back to bed… and then things got a bit strange thanks to a decidedly epic dream I had- a version of a ‘New Doctor Who’ season climax involving flying aliens, saucer-shaped aircraft, and multi-dimensional landscapes intersecting with Washington D.C.

I finally woke up four hours later, with only an hour or so of grey sunlight to enjoy before the day got dark once again. I’ve at least spent the last few hours planning out the next few days, and arranging some of the character threads of the novel together so they’ll be easier to work with. The novel is still in shaky shape, but is now running nearly two chapters shorter than it was- I’m just worried that certain structural things I was doing in earlier versions aren’t going to work now. What I’m going to try and do is put all of that out of my head, and concentrate on the actual, nuts-and-bolts writing new stuff that needs to be written. Once I get a ‘new rough draft’, I can print this bastard out, read it, and I’ll have a much better idea of where the dead patches are. I’m slightly paranoid about throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I want this to be a book that moves quickly, and doesn’t grind to a halt. It’s supposed to be a romp, gawd-dammit.

If my paranoia, insecurity and other neuroses allow it, I would like to have a functional version of the new structure of the book by the end of next week, so I can start doing some really aggressive rewrites over the Christmas period. I sometimes doubt whether I’m cut out for this- but despite all the problems, I read through the end of the novel a couple of days ago- and it rocks. It’s a mess, it needs a tremendous amount of work, but the damn thing rocks like a Metallica album, and if I can actually get it to work, I can rest assured that, at the very least, nobody is trying to do the kind of things I’m trying to pull off here. Of course, I may later discover that there’s a very good reason nobody else is trying to do it. Hey ho…

I miss George. I haven’t seen her since last Saturday… and I really miss her now. Maybe it’s just being on my own, but I can’t wait to get back to her and, despite all the ridiculous nonsense awaiting me in the future, I also can’t wait to get this next phase of my life going. It may be scary, but something tells me it’s going to be worth it.

Mr Sneezy

I’ve arrived in Cornwall, after missing my train down (I was stunned to find that, thanks to traffic being responsible, I was simply handed a particular piece of paper, told to give it to the guard, and wasn’t charged a penny. Getting a new ticket would have cost me £70, so I was especially pleased), and this experience was made even more fun by one of the most spectacular colds I’ve had in a while. I’ve spent most of the last couple of days sneezing my head off, and while I was very productive book-wise yesterday, today turned into a day of Lemsip-provoked slumping, and listening to the Doctor Who audio discs I need to review for SFX (One of which was fairly rickety, but the other of which was extremely good). Productivity needs to return to something resembling normal tomorrow, as I’ve only got two weeks down here, and I don’t want to spend all of them sniffing and being miserable. The first five chapters of the book are now shorter and more streamlined than they’ve ever been before- but I really need to move onto the dangerous chapter 7-10 zone, the area that’s caused me so much trouble before. If I can get through this, I can get most of it done. My aim is to have a polished version of the book that’s ready to send to people by the end of the year, and hopefully ready for agents and publishers pretty soon after that.

Now all I’ve got to do is figure out exactly how to survive the financial turbulence of the next few months.

No news on the flat. The Estate Agents are at least showing people around, but we’ve got no bites yet. Funnily enough, I’m feeling fairly philosophical about it. Our new house is, however, going to demand that I get back into driving pronto, as neither walking nor bike-riding is an option.

Change is good. I have to remember that. Change is good…

(My ‘TV Eye’ looks at American television will return soon. I also want to do something on the Sixties Doctor Who DVDs I’ve gotten recently- THE WEB PLANET and THE DALEK INVASION OF EARTH. I’ve just got to concentrate on the book at the moment, as there’s a frightening amount to do. At the least, I saw last week’s HEROES today- top notch stuff, and warming up for some seriously big stuff to happen over the next couple of episodes. Also saw GALACTICA, which was an improvement on last weeks, but still suffering from the ‘let’s keep all the episodes self-contained’ phenomenon that really doesn’t do the show any good.)

Am currently working my way through season 1 of VERONICA MARS, and can now understand why I’ve been hearing so much about it. I’m only six episodes in, but it’s already going in some dark and intriguing directions.

More soon…