THE WRITER’S LIFE
The delivery of a few new books is distracting me from the weekend I planned to spend not working. Consequently, I am working but that’s not a problem when your job is your favourite hobby and passion as well. The books are enjoyable reads in their own right though, even if some of them relate directly to writing. Those which don’t may still contain ideas for pieces of my own, so even when I’m not working, I am. Ditto reading a newspaper or magazine, watching TV or watching movies in the Savage Cinema.
The offending volumes are the new edition of my bible: The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2016; and three books by Charles Bukowski: Tales of Ordinary Madness, Notes of a Dirty Old Man and On Writing. The Yearbook is an essential volume in any writer’s reference library, as it lists publishers and agents by genre and publication type and submission guidelines; it lists societies, prizes and festivals; resources and the latest in copyright and libel law. Much of the information in the Yearbook isn’t available online, so it is a valuable resource.
Charles Bukowski was a name only vaguely familiar to me when he was recommended by one of my wingmen recently. Bukowski was troubled by drink and spent some time homeless: we have things in common. Now described as “A laureate of American Lowlife” by Time Magazine, Bukowski is someone I can relate to and he’s proving to be some very good reading material. Just the way of life which myself and Bukowski lived while homeless has given me an idea for a story, now that I have read his take on homelessness, which is darker than mine.
So indulgence in leisure creates work. Work which I enjoy and is often therefore a leisurely activity in itself. What a lovely self-perpetuating situation to be in.
I’m rather hopeful for a project I’m working on in the background and which may be published later in the year, depending on how it fares in various writing competitions. It’s called An Alternative Nativity. The concept has been tried many times but I’m putting my own individual take on things. Essentially, God is a rapist. Jesus was born of Mary and Jesus was the son of God. Therefore, God impregnated Mary. It may be described or disguised as the immaculate conception but God put that child in Mary’s womb. Even if the conception was without intercourse, there was still an invasion of Mary’s body and an abuse of power. Jesus himself was a sacrificial baby of course: born to spread his father’s lies, then to die to save his father’s reputation and excuse his errors. Because if God created man in his own image, God himself is clearly fallible… Suffice to say, my version of the nativity will be pretty grim.
An Alternative Nativity joins The Paradox of Perception and A Fairytale of the Green Inferno on the short fiction work pile; and The Inner Leviathan novel, which I’ve almost completed the first chapter of, now that I’ve put the other two books on the back burner. Mechanical Manacle is in Schlock webzine this week and Master Yehudi’s Flying Circus is on submission. Once the current batch of short stories are published, I’ll have hit my quarter century: so far I’ve had 22 stories published. I’m aiming to complete the magic number of 42 before I gather them all up and plonk them in an anthology.
As this writer’s life continues to come together, I grow to love it more as I allow myself to accept that this is it now, after all that went before. I can compare myself to Charles Bukowski, in that it was worth going through all that I did to end up here. I doubted it at first – and I still wouldn’t wish anyone have to go through what I did – but as the extent of what I have now sinks in, I look around me and realise that it was all worth it. With a bit of money thrown at it, my little crib is almost perfect now. The Cradle of Filth where I work is a perfect personal space in which to write. The Savage Cinema where I relax is cosy and comfortable. The whole place is pretty fucking cool now and it has my name written all over it. I love my wonky little bedsit. I’m financially secure: I have regular money coming in, which I’m entitled to and which I earned. I have freedom, including freedom of expression to look how I want, say what I like and write what I please.