By the end of day one book writing, I had written about 1500 words that at least survived until today without bitter or frustrated deletion.
I have a habit of thinking, “just before I move on to the next section, I’ll read back what I’ve done.”
Then, I bowdlerise and slaughter those words for the rest of the day, so I remain perpetually where I was. To avoid this, each time I finish something that reaches the status of “that will do”, it will be moved into a separate draft. I will be banned from returning to it until a first proper draft is finished.
Then, it will return to the abattoir of my judgemental mind.
Procrastination number 5 was going to the dentist. He prodded my gums until my mouth felt like Countess Bathory. For the first time in memory, I went to the Notting Hill Book Exchange and bought nothing. This is highly unusual. Since Kirk, Luke and Matt are no longer there, the lack of lengthy conversations on 1970s horror TV series, Robert Aickman and WG Sebald means I have lost the extra time when I changed my mind on books like Condensed Chaos: An Introduction to Chaos Magic, The Oxford Book of Animal Behaviour or The Postmodern Scene: Excremental Culture and Hyper-Aesthetics. (These are often the impulse buys that find their way into the Book Shambles Box of Books prize for Patreon & Paypal supporters – here is one winner describing their box of books).
I miss those days of ruefully wishing that one day we would all be able to see the deleted Late Night Horror adaptation of Ringing The Changes, retitled Bells of Hell. That is the sort of counter chat you want to have in a bookshop. If the Bells of Hell is ever found, it will be hard to live up to Alan Moore’s memory of it, which he elegantly regaled with me over a two egg Fiorentina pizza.
With the blood rust taste in my mouth subsiding, I wrote another 350 words on the train, but they didn’t survive beyond dusk.
Procrastination number 6 was sorting the piles of books who have reached a high tide point that means they are almost at the edge of my bed. Sweating and swearing for six hours, I have now put the stacks in a different order which should be helpful, but might just be a different method of spine confusion.
During Procrastination 6, I found time to fit in procrastination of procrastination by having a hasty argument on Twitter with a person of the hard right who hides behind the term libertarian as it sounds less ugly and reprehensible.
After midnight, it is beyond procrastination time. I watched Barbet Schroeder’s More on the BFI player. I had no knowledge of it except that it was usually sold it in one of those BFI cases that made you think, “I must have that, it is probably cultish and very important”. It was a bleak tale of heroin addiction and death, but with a lot of sunshine and seascapes, as if Judith Chalmer’s had helmed Drugstore Cowboy.
With seven waking hours of Saturday left, I have not given up all hope of writing any of the book, but I suddenly remembered that I had to deliver a short story based on a thought experiment for a short story collection I know little about. It is about shoes and death.
End result –
Words written for a book – 1923
Words written for the book – 0
Coffees – a low 2
Twitter arguments – 0 (so far)
I will be hosting a screening of The Great Dictator at the Slapstick festival on 21st January (day after President Trump’s inauguration) with Neil Innes, David Robinson and Grace Petrie and also doing events about Keaton, Rik Mayall and lots more.
Josie and Robin’s Book Shambles is available here – guests include Geoff Dyer, Stewart Lee, Natalie Haynes, Alice Lowe…