Several theories have sought to explain why I’ve been blog awol for the last week:
1) The fridges ganged up on me and pinned me to a wall, preventing me from blogging
2) I murdered the electrician and spent the last week burying him and his wretched safety certificate under the patio
Sorry to disappoint folks but none of the above are true. I’m still surrounded by fridges, the electrician is still alive (though it was a close thing when he told me I’d have to wait for my cheque to clear before he gave me the safety certificate!) .
The truth is I decided to have an internet-free bank holiday and a very good one it was too. I even managed to finish a short story and sent it off to the Guildford ‘Up Your Street’ competition. I didn’t have chance to send it to my critique group so I decided to just send it and hope.
On Sunday I went off to Reading Festival to see Nine Inch Nails and the Smashing Pumpkins and, God, was that an adventure and a half! If you ever need short inspiration I suggest you queue for a taxi outside Paddington station at two in the morning. The list of characters included:
- A black guy in his fifties who wore a full suit, a trilby, sunglasses and had a suitcase at his feet. He was propped up against a wall, statue-like and was, to all intents and purposes fast asleep
- The long, skinny ginger-haired youth curled up at his feet, trying to keep warm by snuggling against the warm air vents at the side of the station. Whenever he moved position his mouth would gape and he would look around, bewildered. Then the black guy would stamp his foot and ginger would close his eyes again
- ‘Milk woman’ The jury was out on whether this 40-something woman with three shopping bags and a litre of milk that she constantly swigged at was homeless or, perhaps, a little mentally impaired. Either way she addressed the queue as though we were her audience, telling us “Here comes a taxi” every time one appeared and got very annoyed when someone else decided to talk to the crowd. At one point milk woman tried to tidy up by re-affixing a ‘No smoking’ sign to the wall – upside down
- The Serial Killer fake taxi driver with his dog. Typically this was the taxi drive that appeared when we were, finally, at the head of the queue. He drew up, light off, but agreed to take us to our destination. When we scrambled into the back we realised that this was no normal black cab. The adverts were ripped, the floor was dirty and the seatbelts didn’t work. Our guess was this guy had bought a second hand taxi and rigged up a fare counter. In the front a West Highland terrier was tethered to a seatbelt and we watched as he jumped up at the window, then fell back onto the seat, then jumped up at the window and fell back again. All this while the taxi driver thumped at his control panel and ignored him. Oh, and I should also add that an unlicensed blue mini cab that we’d earlier waved away was waiting round the corner as we pulled away from the station. When our cab overtook him he trailed us for several minutes. We really, really thought we might be driven to some deserted location and then…well…doesn’t bear thinking about. We did get home safely in the end.
Oh yes, and the other reason I’ve been awol recently is because I developed a chest infection earlier this week and am only now starting to feel a bit better.
Novel editing progress is still slow. My novelist critique group have now looked at my revised chapter one and half of chapter two and so far so good. I’ve read through a third of the novel and have made little notes in the margins and am alternating reading with re-writing the second half of chapter two. This really is a much more lengthy and boring process than I anticipated and to be honest I’m really missing writing something fresh. I think the answer is to alternate short story writing with editing.