On Friday I scribbled some notes down on scraps of paper and sellotaped them to the wall beside my desk. Stuff like: “ROCKY WAS WRITTEN IN A WEEKEND” “BEARD?” and “MAKE FOGGY – MAKE REALLY FOGGY.” I’ve no idea what that last one means. I’m not sure if Rocky was written in a weekend and I don’t want to check. I’m not entirely sure about the beard bit, either. Does my character have a beard? Should I be questioning my own beard? Clearly the work of a lunatic. Yet I felt such notes provided me with the impetus to start writing, so on Friday afternoon I sat down to write and I sit here on Sunday with thirty-something pages written. The beginning is done. The end is done. The middle needs work. Needs so much work, in fact, that I’m tempted to write “THE MIDDLE NEEDS MORE WORK. MAKE IT FOGGY.” and sellotape it to the wall beside my desk.
Still, good to get the skeleton of a small book down over a weekend. And the weekend isn’t over yet. Who knows how many more insane notes I’ll write by the end of today? Not me. I don’t know anything. Except these 10 things, all learnt since Friday:
1. Writing about a man dancing with a vacuum cleaner in Russia is a lot easier than you might expect.
2. Writing about a tennis match is quite hard.
3. Whilst examining a fictional character’s marriage break up it occurred to me that my marriage may have broken up for similar reasons: that when I first met my wife I presented a side to myself that barely existed and then tried to sustain a relationship based upon this; essentially for four years acting out a character I invented one night at a party when drunk. Cool, isn’t it?
4. Writing over 5,000 words in a day leaves you physically tired. You’d expect mental or even emotional tiredness, but not the physical sort. The feeling is not unpleasant though – more odd – and left me wanting to experience what it’s like to write 10,000 words in a day.
5. I tend to use the word ‘certainly’ too much.
6. If you write something funny that makes you laugh, it feels good. If, however, you fake laugh when reading something you’ve written to try and convince yourself that it’s funny it doesn’t feel quite so good.
7. According to a 1995 paper in Astrophysical Journal entitled “Interstellar Alcohols”, alcohol exists outside of this solar system.
8. I was offered a weekly poker column last week. This isn’t related to my ‘journey’ this weekend, but I thought you might be delighted to know.
9. When I’m not writing well I use the word ‘fuck’ all the time. When I am writing well, I barely fuck at all.
10. I have wild eyes. A friend drove past me as I walking back from the local shop on Friday and asked what I was doing.
“Writing a book. Small book. Novella. Thing.” I said.
“Is that why you’ve got wine and ham?”
“Your eyes have gone weird. What’s happened to your eyes? You look mental.”
Then he honked his goodbyes and was off. Is this what we’ve become, I thought, a race of people driving around in cars all day telling other people that their eyes have gone weird? This certainly wouldn’t have happened a hundred years ago. When I got home though I checked, and my blunt friend was correct: My eyes had gone weird.