Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Guilty pleasures

I'm supposed to be writing the sequel to Natural Causes at the moment.

The idea was that, once the whole throwing things up in the air and running around like a mad thing nonsense of the daggers, Harrogate and the family holiday were all out of the way, I would settle down and dedicate the second half of the year to being creative. I find it very hard to concentrate if there's something planned for a week or two's time, so it made sense to wait until the calendar was largely clear.

Unfortunately calendars have a terrible habit of filling up, giving me a constant supply of reasons not to get on with it. Tomorrow, for instance, the Horse Doctor and I will be heading back up to Fife.

But you've only just come back from there, I hear you say.

Yes, but I left the DevilDog behind.* I left the DevilDog behind because he is undergoing a course of acupuncture in an attempt to ease his arthritis. Sessions need to be a few days apart, and he needed to have at least four to be effective. Given that the best dog-pin-sticker works just down the road from the farm, it made a certain kind of sense to use her rather than some unknown Welshman (or woman, I'm not proud). So Mort's been having an extended stay with my parents, and my mum's been taking him for his jabber sessions.

Early indications are that the treatment is probably not worth the money, but I'll keep you posted on that.

Another calendar event approaching with indecent haste is the Batmobile's second birthday. This means that it needs to be serviced, and in order to maintain its warranty, it needs to be serviced by an approved Alfa Romeo service engineer. As a species, these are all but extinct in Wales, having been hunted down in a ruthless manner by Italian marksmen (they'll shoot anything that moves.) I could take the car south to Newport, North to Colwyn Bay or East to Shrewsbury, but none of these options is less than a two hour drive. I knew this when I bought the car, so I've only myself to blame. Still, it makes routine maintenance a chore.

Fortunately there is a brand spanking new Alfa Romeo garage in Perth, which by happy coincidence is only fifteen miles away from my parent's farm. So with pleasing symmetry, I have organised for the service to be carried out on Friday. With even more pleasing symmetry, it's my dad's birthday on Monday and I can save a fortune in postage by taking his present north with me.

All of which fortuitous happenstance means that I have been focussed on the impending tomorrow rather than the necessary today. For writing, this is a bad state of affairs.

I have started the book. There's a neat little opening section and then I got a bit bogged down trying to get to the next interesting bit. So I decided to do some reading instead. Cue guilty pleasure number one.**

Whilst at Harrogate, a certain long-awaited final instalment in a popular children's fiction series was published. The Horse Doctor bought her copy on that Saturday morning in Morrisons for £5. Unhampered by any need to entertain me, she had finished it by midnight of the same day. I couldn't start it until I had finished the book I was already reading, so for days now I've been avoiding any and all spoilers. But finally I could resist no more; it took me slightly longer than the Horse Doctor, but I have now finished Harry Potter and the Slightly Disappointing Ending, or whatever it's called. I enjoyed it, by and large, as I have enjoyed all the others - even the annoying long one where nothing much happens. I've been a fan of fantasy for a very long time, and J K Rowling's books are very easy to lose yourself in. It's not often I get the opportunity to read a book in one long sitting, either - mostly it's a case of grabbing an hour here, a half hour there, and quite often propping up my eyelids with matchsticks as I lie in bed trying to wade through some turgid prose. There's something deliciously decadent about devouring a novel in one long sitting, even if numb bum is a potential hazard.

Guilty pleasure number one has kept me away from the real work, however, and so has guilty pleasure number two.

When in Aberdeen, prior to Harrogate, I visited my old friend Mike McLean in his comic shop. I didn't indulge much in comic buying - Mike sends me a parcel of them every month. But I was able to pick up some supplies that are too heavy and expensive to post, including storage boxes designed to carry 2000AD comics and protective bags of the correct size.

My study is currently knee deep in old copies of this wonderfully British comic.*** My collection goes right back to issue number one, which came out thirty years ago, and I've been sorting through them, cataloguing and bagging. And, of course, re-reading stories I'd long since forgotten about, which means the whole process takes ten times longer than it should. Soon I'll have them all sorted and stored once more up in the loft. But for now I am happily distracted.

Normal service should be restored on Tuesday.

I left Chiswick behind, too, but I think that was for the best.
** and I'm sorry it's taken so long to get to the point.
*** my first ever payed piece of writing appeared in Issue 865 back in December 1993.

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Blogger Trace said...

I find I'm really affected by the weather. Cool, dreary days or snowy days are the best time to write for me.

August 11, 2007 12:12 pm  

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