Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Everyone's got a story to tell. I've always thought that to mean we've all got a work of fiction inside our brains somewhere, but, rather latently I'm sure, I think I've worked it out to mean there's a part of everyone's lives that's worth telling.

This seems more likely to me and in some ways is encouraging but in others depresses me slightly.

Pre-realisation, I had a wonderful view of the world, everyone deep down was in some way creative and while I still think that's probably true, the benchmark has been lowered rather.

To me successfully telling your story, i.e. creating a book, involves a pretty large amount of imaginative stamina. You can probably recount the incredible day you went to buy an engagement ring for your girlfriend only to become a key player in a 16 hour hostage situation, one which only ended because of your amazing daring negotiations with the criminal masterminds, while your at the pub. Buy can you string it out into a tense 300 page thriller?

That may even be one of the easier examples, what if the most amazing day of your life consisted of a lovely trip to the park with your son, how on earth is that going to hold anyones attention for more than a couple of hours?

While everyones story has a right to be told you need alot more than a decent premise and a couple of good characters, you need the creative equivalent of Paula Radcliffes legs.

Unfortunately , I've made it even worse for myself. The story I've decided I've got to tell is fictional and better still it's set in the afterlife, how am I going to research that?

I think I'm going to have to take my premise and the small selection of characters plot them out and pad and stretch the page until it becomes a very short story.

Perhaps then I'll have been inspired enough (inspired by myself? this process is going to be a real ego-massage) to pack in enough fluff to call it a novella, not that I ever would, and finally top it up with another hundred pages or so until it can marginally be called a book.

At this point I'll probably send it to a publisher or 5 for rejection, but at least I'll be rid of my story, it'll be in the world in it's rare original manuscript form for everyone to read, or pretend to read even if it is one at a time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Office party

That's right, the office party. Into my 4th week and I'm plunged into the minefield that is organised shitfaced with people you don't really know.

I think I'll be alright though, I'm quite good at drinking and chatting but more than this I have a back up plan because today is also my wedding anniversary (4th, thank you for asking).

It's the perfect get out clause and I intent to keep it up my sleeve in readiness at any second.

I've been writing documents for work all day today and unfortunately I think I've used up all my expressive powers...

I shuold have something good to write about tomorrow though eh?

Paul x

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I got printed. Published writer that's me, and how exciting it was at the time. It was 400 words of observational hilarity very well received by anyone who knows me.


It's never the people you know who's praise you crave. Don't get me wrong their praise is always so gratefully appreciated and without it I don't think my fragile ego could continue to thump away, but a nod from a stranger or an anonymous thumbs up carry a raw honesty that's like striking oil.

So, while the wonderful texts and messages give me a glow, somewhere deep down, I can't help wondering how much of the support comes from a desire for me to succeed and how much is pure admiration for what I writ.

I want to be very, very clear here, I'm not de-valuing the support of friends or relatives, I'm merely suggesting that by the very nature of being a friend or a relative their beautiful desire for my success colours their objectivity.

If we therefore consider the opinion of a stranger to be weighted heavier than that of a near and dear, the derision of an unknown leaves the aforementioned fragile ego reeling.

The column I submitted to is a bit Pop Idol (the original and still the best) in that readers are asked to text a vote of "more" if they like it or "bore" if they don't.

My final score then, as printed the next day, was 50%/50% and can you imagine what that result as done to me?

On the one hand at least one person (I know, because they told me) gave a vote of "more" (thank you buddy) but on the other it means that someone I don't know was bothered to vote me a "bore", which obviously skews the result given the weighting theory.

I did my own research on the way home, vainly scanning the tube carriage for someone reading it (vain as in vanity, shame on me) and yes, in fact, there was one. She appeared to have easily digested the other content and was happily scraping the literary barrel with my nonsense, she was even smiling, which I think counts to unofficially tip the scales and means it probably wasn't her voting me off.

Elsewhere though, someone was forcing their way through it and reaching for their mobile as they scanned the final titter with a stoney face. It is then that person, the (I presume only based on the probably amount of positive votes) one person who so loathed my middle of the road writing as to spend money expressing their dislike, to whom I'd like to speak.

And I would listen, once I'd got over my hurt pride, and take note of their critique.

Well, I would if they had anything intelligent to say, which I doubt.

Monday, December 11, 2006

In a newspaper!

Friday, December 01, 2006


I have a stag do to go on this weekend and while I'm fairly confident about the drinking bit of the day, I've been training for that for a long time, I'm slightly dreading the obligatory sober activity in the day.

This is a real shame as to most Englishmen it's a chance of a lifetime. We're going to play cricket at Lords.

Lords, the hallowed field of great cricketing achievement, the long history of bitter battles with the colonies, W.G. Grace, Bodyline and to cap it all, me.

As with most, if not all, sports I am pitched at just below average. I can get by if I'm not stretched too far or trusted with any of the important jobs.

In the Keystone Cops extravaganza of a school playtime football game, I was invariably picked as the left back for which ever team got lumped with me, even when someone actually wanted to play there.

The taking part was still a real pleasure, the camaraderie and shouting were so much fun, as was the development of my relationship with the less crap and entirely mental lad picked to be the keeper, but God help me if the ball actually landed nearby.

A flapping swipe of the foot at the ball with one eye on the clustered horde of 7 year olds bearing down on me was about as good as I got, and to my credit occasionally it went where I wanted it to go.

It's, then as now, those rare flashes of mediocre skill that put me in an even worse position because they create a very false impression, not only for my self-confidence but also the team I'm playing for.

It's usually the first move I make that creates something special meaning everything else afterwards is a disappointment and the scowling brow and sad eyes of sporting failure are among the least desirable facial features to have pointed at you.

So to tomorrows sporting feast. I have a feeling I'll be the mug sent up to bowl first and inexplicably my slow paced, minimal spin delivery, which is normally smashed to the boundary with an belittling snigger, will trickle it's way through the military defences of the batsman and tap the bails to the ground.

A moments glory and with arms raised and a howled linguistic compound I'll be crowned bowler for the day, then as the skill levels plummet and the fraud of my victory is unveiled I'll once again be faced with the disappointment of my team.

Those poor, good men whose hopes will rest on my crumbling shoulders and for whom I'll have nothing to give beyond a sorry smile and a shrug.

Still, as time goes by and I can re-tell the tales of the day I'll be able to say I took a wicket at Lords. A very lucky and very poorly delivered wicket, but a wicket none the less.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday's Paul has far to go...

I've got no cohesion in my thought process. My mind is flitting from subject to subject like a hummingbird which is making it very dificult to write anything of sense.

So perhaps this post should be like a mini-mix. Snippets of what's going on up there spewed out for your delight. I'm tired, I was out last night with a great guy I used to work with and we sank many Guinesses (guiness? like sheep and sheep?, guinai? surely not?). We spoke of many things; parenthood, work, football, oysters.

By God I love tea, it's got to be the very best of everything, my cup is now pitched at exactly the right temperature and the milk tea ratio is bang on.

Oh, an email, and some actual work to do.

What does everyone want for christmas? Isn't life easier now I've adopted Wife's families present method, it's simple and it ensure's enjoyment at the end of the process, "what do you want?" is all it takes, so much easier than the sneaky remembered hints dropped in June. I can barely remember last week.

Why on earth am I listening to this shouty music? It's not bad actually, and it's keeping me slighty focussed.

Crikey what a flap, thank god that's over.

So you see this is what I'm faced with when attempting to be creative with a hangover, note to self: less booze during the week.

Ta ra.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Time, time, time, see what's become of me...

Time’s stock has increased, and it’s not just the extra half hour’s work at the end of the day or the extra 2 hours commute out of each 24 pushing up the price.

The time I now have to myself each week is far more valuable, and not necessarily in a good way as I think this has all come about by way of an attitude shift.

I’ve a feeling I’m starting to think that my time is precious which, in itself, isn’t particularly a bad thing. All time in essence is precious, and its singular nature makes sure of that for like a flawless clear diamond is worth more than it’s cracked yellowing cousins because of its rarity, every second of every day is as unique as a snowflake. Once it’s happened it can never be changed or repeated, which, as a digression, makes it at the same time completely valueless.

So, as I stand, second after second, cramped in the corner of a tube door-well, the subject of slight olfactory abuse thanks to my elderly neighbour, I find myself feeling a little irritated.

As I’ve learnt before no time can be wasted if the subject can embrace the activity within, it’s just that my long meta-physical arms are flinching slightly at the prospect of grasping these moments to my meta-physical bosom (yes, it is a bosom).

What has happened then within me to cause embracorial hesitation?

I think I’ve lost some sense of my time being my own, more parts of the day feel enforced.

The 6:30 start, if I have the good grace to have a bath, is caused by leaving the house at 7:20 to make my train at 7:35, to get the tube at 7:53, to be at work for 8:30, to sit until 6pm tapping at a keyboard to make someone else money, from where I troll home to grab 3 or 4 hours for myself.

Day’s like this have created a bitter belligerence to tar those sweet evening hours, and all I manage to do is buttock-cling angrily to the sofa and waste my brain away with a regular dose of jungle bound celebrities. This torpor is state I don’t even seem to enjoy; more feel an insistence to participate in as a “deserved” respite from the hardship of the working day.

I think the time has come to reclaim my evenings and switch off the television set and do something less boring instead (thank you the 80’s).

Yes, starting tonight, evenings are a time of action, of dynamics and of happy ownership.

Thanks right my friends, tonight I grab 7 until 10 by the scruff of it’s neck and shake it all the way to the supermarket, because let’s be honest, what’s “I’m a celeb” without a post prandial bit of cake?