Thursday, 31 October 2013

Sued Again!/Bailiffs/whatever.

HEY I CAME BACK HOME TODAY by the way I don't usually go. Ie I entered my enormous building by the main door, not one of the other three (I like to think of my building as enormously glamorous, not enormously chavvy). 

Anyway, this letter was stuck on the door with tape, addressed to me, from BAILIFFS ~ re a council tax account ending February this year (when I moved into this glamorous building) which is only there because the council fucked up. I wrote to them repeatedly, and have copies of the letters, asking would they please send me either a payment card (which they've stopped making, whose brilliant idea was that?) or a barcode, or a book of paying-in slips. So I know, that when I pay money to the council, it actually clears the balance of my own account, and not somebody else's. Which is not unreasonable, right?

I wrote twice within about two months. My last offer of payment was dated just over two weeks ago. But they never replied. So I reckon I have a pretty strong case against them and I'm going to cause merry hell and put in motion the full complaints procedure, against the individual people involved. Right up to the Local Government Ombudsman.
I didn't used to be like this, but have had a lifetime full of being persecuted for being on the bottom rung. If my book is a success, I'm leaving the country. I've had enough of this place. I want to live somewhere in Europe, where TV is broadcast in some glamorous foreign tongue and I don't feel I have the right to moan against the government, because it's not "my" government. I HATE the tories. Labour are just reckless. Lib-Dems a waste of space. And by the way, if I were tied down and forced to vote for one of the Big 3, I think I would, extremely reluctantly, vote TORY. Ukh, I can't believe I admitted that. So that's me.
O and the council office were already closed at a quarter to five. So anybody with a 9-5 job and a problem with the council is *****d.

OK I'm off. Good day all.

Oh and PS the bailiffs have seized a car that doesn't belong to me. They're welcome to it!!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Feeling Better: not so depressed/still writing "great literature"

FINALLY the fog of "depression"/whatever you wanna call it (feeling unamused + sleeping 12-16 hours per day EVERY day... yes THAT is lifting. O and when I did get up "early" (eg 8am) thinking how well I was doing, not only did I feel absolute stygian gloom, barely able to function at all, but I'd flop down on the sofa, maybe a couple of hours later, after I'd done all I had to do for the day ~ getting methadone, buying shopping in etc, so the rest of the day was comparitively "optional" then BAM!! straight to sleep and catching up on every single hour "lost" plus EVEN MORE! ~ meaning I just couldn't win. I told my GPs (both of them) and they nodded understandingly. They certainly didn't try and imply if only I had more mettle and forced myself to stay awake I'd somehow be all right because I wasn't all right. The less sleep the LOWER my mood went. It was horrible. ANYWAY this is all finished now and I'm currently on 9 hours. My mood today has actually gone UP. I'm really excited because I found some yummy blue soft cheese (Cambazola) to put in my French baguettes, which I eat nearly every day. Or is it because I'm busily writing the most amazing children's book of all time? I don't know!

Ukh. As for my brilliant writerly idea... I REALLY need a good "literary agent" with whom to discuss this stuff. My family are good, but really just as clueless as me when it comes to the wherewithalls of publishing. I haven't the faintest idea how that industry works and I need someone I can bounce ideas off who is NOT my publisher, because I feel I should produce (and hence publish) my stuff in a certain way, in a certain order of appearance. Maybe I'm sounding a bit mysterious here: what I mean is, I have so very many ideas for stories it'd take me at least the next five years to write them all. That's if I took up writing full-time. Currently I'm only writing ~ really ~ part-time I haven't the physical energy to scribble away at this hobby of mine full-time.

(Most of the time when I'm "writing" I'm actually watching True Movies 2 on Freesat!)

I was watching French television last night (as you do when you're supposedly writing an intellectual novel) and this brilliant prison drama came on called Unité 9 ~ far better than the present-day rehash of Prisoner Cell Block H they're calling Wentworth. I also saw a good courtroom-cum-prison drama Anybody's Nightmare, starring Patricia Routledge (Hyacinth Bucket) on True Entertainment. The real-life story of Sheila Bowler, a middle-aged, middle-class music teacher falsely accused and then convicted of the murder of her frail and elderly aunt. That was really good too.

You know as I'm getting older and becoming an accomplished intellectual novelist, I can watch TV drama and think "no that's a cheap shot; they should have focused more on that character, added an establishing scene here, rejiggled a bit there, done it this other way". + when I read other people's books I'm constantly blue-pencilling other writers' prose  (I do it enough to my own). I got Sharon Osbourne's latest memoir Unbreakable from Morrisons for £10 (Binky thinks this is the biggest self-indulgence, spending £10 on A book!) ~ no ghostwriter is credited, but some of the prose, at its best is top-drawer. Paul Burrel's book A Royal Duty doesn't credit a ghostwriter either and that's amazingly well done, considering the lengthy, convoluted story he had to tell and, in the words of her brother, Earl Spencer: a woman I am so proud to be able to call my sister, the unique, the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds

I once tried penning my own memoir ~ a "misery memoir" as my own tale would be labelled ~ and I can tell you it is NOT easy ~ not just recalling your own life in brutal close-up, but detailing precisely HOW and why one thing led to another, what was said by whom and how it made you feel. The misery of my own memoiring made me so depressed that  I gave up in favour of fiction. Then I gave up writing for grown-ups because I was so fed up of the shitty world I would have to portray (+ too uninspired to write anything approaching a full-length book), and, in the end didn't even want to feel obliged to reproduce swear-words in print, that I finally gravitated to children's fiction, perhaps the one single arena of innocence left in this dark and nasty world ...

Ukh, every time I post I seem to be writing the same thing. Yes I'm writing a story. By £1 shop pen, on WH Smiths lined refill paper. But I can't tell you what it's about! It's not finished.

OK I've got to go now. Hope you're all OK. Take care y'all...

Illustrated: (upper) WH Smith's "wide-ruled refill pad" ~ what I use for the composition of great literature..! (middle) Cambazola ~ soft and spreadable blue cheese (lower) Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It, to date, the most successful "misery memoir" of all time...

Most successful author of all time with agglommerated sales of (allegedly) 2,000,000,000(!!!)
Her detectives Poirot and Miss Marple are still on British TV every single week. Mistress of the "whodunnit"! Her books seem incredibly "creaky" by today's standards but she's very popular on television. Her detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple can be seen on British screens every week, and new productions based on her 66 mystery novels  are still being made.
Her play The Mousetrap is the longest-running stage production in recorded history. Opening in 1952, it's STILL GOING after SIXTY-ONE YEARS!!!

She was the most successful children's author of all time and one of my favourites. When I want "inspiration" I read her Famous Five books, which are delightfully PI (politically incorrect!)
Her prose might be rather plain, but it's really readable.
Americans seem not to have heard of her, but she's a pillar of British culture. Very famous indeed within these shores!

Barbara Cartland is supposedly the second-bestselling British writer of ALL TIME
(Have YOU ever read one of her books? I haven't!)
In her final years she was knocking out one slim historical romance per fortnight ~ publishing 24 titles per year, each of which would sell a million copies around the world. Frequently appeared on British TV extolling the virtues of vitamins and reprimanding the modern proclivity to sex before marriage!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Literary Brainwave!

I'VE HAD A BRILLIANT IDEA for my book. It's like a new version of my story, which I'm going to do...

Which I cannot divulge. It's so good, if I said it here then everyone writing for children would want to copy me and I, of course want to be first...

(What am I saying? Nobody reads my blog these days anyhow!!!)

Ukh despite the brainwaves, I have been feeling pretty terrible of late. Which is a paradox, I know, but that's life... Sleeping on and on and on. And on. And on and on. And on. Oh yeah: and on again. Terrible, I know. Makes me seem really lazy, doesn't it. If I do manage to be in bed by midnight, which is difficult when you've spent an evening slowly ~ very slowly ~ dreaming up silly animal tales, then it is difficult to sleep afterwards. I write pretty slowly ~ less than a page an hour, which works out at an average of just FIVE words per minute... and that's only the first draft...

Anyway once I do get to sleep, which can be difficult because ironically I sometimes feel a bit "high" of an evening, I fall into an abyss of dormancy and am unfit to be revived until a good TWELVE hours later. FOURTEEN, SIXTEEN, EIGHTEEN on a really bad day. Then I generally get up feeling distinctly under the weather...

OF COURSE I have tried forcing myself to rise at eight, and when I do I think "Wow, I'm doing really well..." until I dare to sit down at around 10am and suddenly ~ WHOOSH! ~ sleep overcomes me once more like a stealthy disease and I'm wiped out all day, making up all "lost" time, and often more. + making it even HARDER to sleep at the right time come midnight... Another thing: when I sleep less than twelve hours I usually feel very depressed during the day. Much worse than on a "standard" day... so I can't win. I'm just SO GLAD I'm managing to get this story done. I'm now a good ¾ of the way through (20,000 words written!). Isn't that amazing!

20,000 words, by the way, can I say to the non-writers amongst us, is NOT a lot of writing. To people who don't have cause to think in thousands of words, let me explain. In an adult Penguin Classics style volume (ie fairly closely-set type) that is just 50 printed pages.  In a kiddies' novel (sans illustration) it works out at approx 75-80 pages, not counting blank patches at ends and beginnings of chapters (which can add a lot; that's one device publishers have of lengthening brief manuscripts into books of more impressive length). So really I've NOT done a lot of writing. My book will not by any stretch of the imagination be "too long"! But hey I'm SO HAPPY to be writing it. I just cannot believe I never knuckled down and did this before.

(Well I AM the author of three failed novels, FAILED being very much the operative word!!)

(Actually I CAN believe it. I spent years feeling uninspired and thanks to that maxim "write what you know" I felt limited to tawdry tales of heroin addicts, petty crims, prostitutes and gangsters ... also I did once try composing a mysery memoir. But walking into WH Smiths one day only to see a five-pack of life-tales of woe on special offer. I remember thinking "no way do I want my own life packaged up like that ~ schizoaffective heroin addiction next to wife-beating, anorexia and incest" and so I proceeded no further. Also just the act of recalling my life and having to join the dots into something that made sense to strangers was more disconcerting (or upsetting, if you prefer) than I had anticipated.

Another thing: as a writer you're obviously known for the genre you write in and I did not want to feel I'd have to spend a career putting in repeat performances of druggy tales. Plus, if I did put in a successful memoir, I reckon my "fans" (if I collected any) would want more and more tales from my own life. Fictionalized stories would feel very much like a second best, and I've always wanted to be a novelist, not a memoirist.

As for children's writing, once I turned my mind to this field I had literally an entire page full of ideas ~ all for separate books. More ideas in one hour for children than a lifetime of "adult popular fiction" (the genre I'd always wanted to write in). What stopped me from proceeding was how difficult I found my first attempts to be. The writing just would not flow... So I put it down, assuming that I just didn't have it in me ~ that I wasn't good enough to write for children. 

Children's writing is a rare talent ~ I can see that by the profuse lack of talent that appeared to be on display every time I browsed the kiddies' shelves in WH Smith ~and I just didn't think I had it either. What changed was that I stopped worrying "will they understand this word; is that sentence too complicated for them" (and I haven't got any and don't even KNOW any children) and just sat down and wrote the story for myself. I'm such a big kid anyway there's no difference between writing for a ten year-old and writing for myself . That's how I found my voice...

Anyway, enought said! Gotta go and put more high-grade entertainment to paper...

Hope you're all doing well. Take care folks XxXxXxX

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Pygmy Shrews, Harvest Mice and Roborovski Hamsters: tiniest mammals in the world!


(Sorex minutus)
weighing in at just 4g
with a 2inch (52mm) body and 32mm (1¾inch) tail
is the tiniest mammal in Europe
and the second tiniest in the world
(after the African pygmy mouse)

In a hand: to scale:~
How tiny and cute!
It's actually slightly smaller than the exceedingly agile Eurasian harvest mouse (Micromys minutus)
Which is very tiny and cute too!
Also very little in comparison to the human hand:
And quite a lot smaller than the Mongolian pygmy hamster
(Phodopus roborovskii)
~ better known as the roborovski hammy,
which is the tiniest hammy in the world
and, at just 50mm/2inches no longer in the body
but which weighs an average 20-25g ~ 5-6 times more
How delightful! This one's a teenager:
Pygmy shrew on Youtube:
Roborovski hamsters in the wild
(Northern China):~

Yes, as my American friends like to say, they are indeed
(We in Britain tend to prefer "delightful" ~ and of course they're both!)


Monday, 14 October 2013

I've written half a book!

I HAVE WRITTEN NEARLY HALF A BOOK! Half a children's book, that is ~ ie 6 chapters; about 15,000 words. I'm aiming for about 35,000-40,000 words, but I keep overrunning (which is far better than being too brief: you can prune away excess verbiage far more easily than making up new content to fill a void).

Well obviously, because it's the product of my hard work and star-spangled brains I think my novel is amazing and will be an instant classic. Well is is very funny. I think so.

For some idiot reason I typed "how much advance children's book" into google and got back a news report from 2004 talking of a £2 million 6-book deal.

As if.

Well mine is envisaged as a series of ten ~ open-ended (that is, the stories do not run from one book to another so you could read them in the wrong order without spoiling any of the fun).

I think it would make an excellent film by the way. If it was done properly... something along the lines of Ice Age or Finding Nemo ~ the same sort of humour. Not so much a "children's film" as "family entertainment".

I wish I hadn't found that article about the £2 million. Thinking about business matters is most offputting whilst one has a creative head on. It is certainly true that since JK Rowling, children's books are taken a whole lot more seriously ... but I can't really imagine my silly story being read by adults on the bus... on the other hand it's not really even a story about children; it's about animals (woodland creatures feature very heavily indeed). Maybe grown-ups would read it secretly on their Kindles... who knows?

I don't like thinking about the business side of publishing at all. That's why I want a literary agent. My family seem to obsess about the idea of self-publishing, but that's not what I want. I would like an editor and an agent who I could phone up and moan to when I'm feeling stuck. Yes I would like to publish my own work in fine editions (ie really expensive hardbacks printed on rag paper with fully-sewn bindings and full colour illustrations, costing £50 to £100 ($79.85-$159.71) each (when I say "fine", I really do mean really extremely fine). But would far rather a "real" publisher took care of ordinary editions and ebooks and complicated things to do with overseas rights. 

I know self-publishing is all the rage, but then I thought "how would I get it in print in German, French, Japanese etc?" Translation agencies charge about £6000 ($9587.72) for a 40,000 word document. And how do I know the translation is any good? To translate fiction you need an experienced literary translator, and I don't know any. ~ Of course I would have to go to literary agents and publishers from abroad. So it seems ridiculous to use professionals for the translation rights but not English, which is by far the most lucrative language. Oh blah blah see I've got to thinking about all the stuff I don't want to. OK I've got to go bye.

Illustrated: British chilren't classics... (Paddington and Rupert being personal favourites)