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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Snowed under - what every writer needs but dreads.


I was going to make a gag about being snowed under. But, upon reflection, I have to say the old plate-spinning metaphor works better. Yes, here I go again. Running to and fro across the stage doing my damnedest to keep half a dozen spinning at once. You want a list? Here’s a list.

1. Re-draft sample first chapter of Mike Pannett’s childhood story.

2. Write an outline with chapter breakdowns of MP’s childhood story.

2(a) Come up with a list of snappy titles for same.

3. Compose a fresh application for the writer’s residency at Ucross Wyoming.  And find $40 for the fee.

4. While finding that $40, track down another $90 for the Western Writers of America. Yes, I filled in their forms, listed some of my western writings and have been told ‘Hey, you qualify. So ante up, feller.’

5. Provide publishers of Mike Pannett’s Yorkshire (the coffee table book, due out October) with: (i) a snappy 50-100 word cover blurb; (ii) a 2-300 word description for the sales team, pointing out all its unique features and stating how it sits alongside competing works (yes, really!); (iii) a very brief blurb of about 50 words... and, you know what? I can’t remember what the hell that was for.

6. Send out my proposal for More Jobs Than Birthdays to a few more publishers. Why? Because a very high profile outfit turned it down yesterday saying (a) ‘Honestly, Alan, it’s too much fun for us’ and (b) ‘I can’t imagine you’ll struggle to find a publisher for this.’ Ha. Call me back in six months, will you?

7. Write the final chapters of above book.

8. Brace myself for the green light from a very wealthy Asian businessman who looks poised to accept my offer of ghosting his sci-fi novel - for a life-changing fee. It’ll take 4-5 months.

There’s more - like writing a blog about my trip to London last week - but I may have to wait. I have two grandchildren staying just now, combined age less than three years, and both of the little herberts have learned to walk!

Anyway, to whet the appetite, here’s what daughter no. 2 and I got up to in London:

(1) Eating out in Brixton village:


(2) Cooking:

My daughter is a vegan; and this is a vegan pizza. Damned fine it was too.

(3) Sight-seeing, south London style:

I was absolutely taken with this building. It speaks of a bygone age, an age of specialist, niche industries - and of course it reminded me straight away of the steam laundry I worked in as a 14-year-old.

We'd walked from Peckham, through Camberwell to Brixton and were on our way back (a round trip of about 7-8 miles) when we spotted these. The guy had another one parked in the drive,  fifth one across the street. All different colours. Its ALWAYS worth foot-slogging around London. You never know what you'll see.