Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Writing to reach you

Hello all,

Been off the radar for a couple of days, as yesterday I had the misfortune to do my back in. I guess it was probably my own fault - not unexpectedly everyone's said about posture and lifting and such like.

Fact is - despite not being in the best shape in the world and having had various health issues, up until now I have been OK on the back front. Which is just as well when you consider that I am lugging heavy speakers and such like around for a living. I'm pretty active anyway - running around after the kids, shopping, housework and all the rest of it actually keeps you pretty fit. Yes I can see you Dogger, Dave and others guffawing away thinking about my famous shape and cheese ball and cured meat diet, but really I am not that bad for a man of my age.

And how good a shape are any of us meant to be in at 43? There's no professional sportsmen or women still around at that age. OK maybe in more sedentary sports such as golf and such like, you might get the odd occasion where an oldie threatens the younger generation in a major, but you aren't going to see anyone my age in the Premiership. Even the snooker players look young nowadays. Fact is, and a depressing one, is that it's all downhill from here. But we manage - as best we can.

The ridiculous thing about all this is that I wasn't even carrying anything. I had been out, got a couple of heavy bags of shopping, done and carried a washload and hung it out, hoovered all around, this was all before 10am. As usual the kids had left a load of stuff all over the place, and I bent over to pick up a pencil and a searing pain went through the base of my spine and I basically collapsed on the floor.


Dragged myself to the living room and realised I had to call on a few people for help. The most pressing need, with Claire away on a course in Banbury to find someone who could collect Jamie from school. Calls to family members went unanswered, but I managed to get hold of Duncan who sent Lynda to my aid. And did I need help, yes I did, could barely move.

This was Tuesday morning, and it is now Wednesday night, mobility is gradually returning, but it just goes to show how vulnerable I am. Have spent most of the day in bed - Claire being left with no choice but to take annual leave - not to wait on me, but for the kids. You see when you have kids, especially those the age of mine, you simply cannot afford to be ill or incapacitated in any way. You need to be 100% all the time.

I still can't stand fully upright or walk unaided for more than a few paces though. I'm praying it will be better again tomorrow. I am dosed up well on paracetamol - the only painkiller that has any effect on me. I did not waste my time upstairs, I had the laptop set up on a table next to the bed and was able to work up there and do what needed to be done, it also got me thinking.

I've never let a client down yet for a gig, and have no intention of doing so, but the thought this may have happened on the morning of a day that I was due to go and do someone's wedding disco doesn't bear thinking about. Makes me realise it's probably not the best idea to be lugging heavy equipment around for decades more to come, some contingency plans need to be put in place.

Planning for the future isn't something I've ever been that proficient at, after all we can all confidently say "This is where I want to be in 5 years time" but real life and random events have a way of scuppering that in the same way that anyone predicting what the weather will be like a month away from today will be indulging in sheer guesswork.

I want to make more use of my talents, in the first instance for my own personal satisfaction, but if there is a living to be made then all well and good. If I'd told my colleagues at Nielsen 10 years ago that I'd be giving it all up and instead making a living from doing discos and karaoke nights I'd have been laughed out of the office. As I frequently was. But I still did it.

I love my writing, and this blog has given me a chance to reach a wider audience in the way that would not have been possible in the pre-internet era. I'm approaching 30,000 hits on this blog and each individual entry these days more often than not gets over 100 hits. And it only counts each IP address once, so genuinely that's 100+ people who want to read what I am writing. So I do enjoy knowing that I'm not just putting this in some diary, and that as per the Travis song I am writing to reach you.

Years ago I toyed with the idea of writing a novel and sketched out a few ideas. Back then though, it was quite a daunting prospect to get a book published, especially if you were unknown and untested. We've all heard stories of how the likes of J. K. Rowling were turned down. I even wrote the first couple of chapters of a supposed "comedy" novel - showed them to a couple of people and just got a generally negative response which either meant it was crap, or they didn't get it. When I actually think who those people were now, well all I can say is, they were the wrong people. But the time was wrong for me anyway - I think I am a better writer now than I was then.

There was - and still is, a genre known as "vanity publishing" where you basically pay to have your novel published. Doesn't appeal and minefield to be ripped off

But the Kindle world has opened up new opportunities. Absolutely anyone can publish any old crap on there. I know because since embracing the Kindle world I've downloaded lots of books on areas that interest me, and although some were good, many were absolutely crap. Not withstanding the fact they were badly written, half of them couldn't even spell properly. It certainly led me to think - I could do this a hell of a lot better than these people.

And I don't think it would even take me that long - when I am inspired the words flow so easily. Maybe it seems some of these blog entries are well crafted and worked hard on - well they are not really at all. The basic gist of it forms in my head, and then I sit down here and the words fly on to the page, I hardly even need to go back and stop, in fact I barely pause for breath. My average blog entry of 1000+ words takes me about half an hour at most.

What to write about - well write about what you know, and what you are interested in. Well I am interested in science fiction (groan) and also apocalyptic scenarios (groan).

What were the groans? Well - it's all been done before - hasn't it? Well maybe, but in many cases badly. It seems to me that 99% of books about the end of the world seem to involve some sort of zombies, as for sci-fi well it can either be hard core or soft core.

What do I mean by that - well I think the sci-fi genre works best for me when it has a grounding in the real world. For example, a story involving strange happenings in a sleepy English Village will be of far more interest to me than some fantasy set on some future alien world. That's me, personally. It explains why I am not a massive fan of films such as Lord Of The Rings. Yes I have watched them, and found them mildly entertaining, but they don't relate to my world. Same goes for Doctor Who - I think by far the scariest moments in the history of the show are things such as the shop window dummies coming to life in the Auton stories and killing normal people in the street, as opposed to some blobby monster in a swamp on some alien planet somewhere - well it's no threat to me really is it?

When I say apocalyptic fiction, I don't mean zombies. I like the concept of global extinction, but let's take two examples. 28 Days Later - pretty horrific movie, everyone wiped out by a virus, but then just blood, gore zombie stuff. Survivors - the TV series (both the 1970s and 2000's), examining how things would unfold in the real world (i.e. no zombies). Some would say 28 Days Later is better because it is more scary, entertaining, and that Survivors is boring, but I much prefer the latter, because I can relate to it.

Here come the standard zombies

So what can I write about? Well I am fascinated by climate change, but there seems to be a lack of decent fiction on the issue. Movie wise we've had "The Day After Tomorrow", great and enjoyable film but a little far fetched in its concept - it is easy to pick holes in the science. I've scoured for books on the subject and found very little.

A little over the top I think.

When I was younger I lapped up the works of John Wyndham - he of Day Of The Triffids fame and many more. He died in 1969, the year before I was born, and I can honestly say no writer has every captured my imagination in the way that he did.

One of my all time favourite books.

No-one can write a totally original piece of work, there is so much already out there. But I can write a well crafted, well researched book, populated by real characters, and real facts, documenting how the effects of massive climate change would impact on their world - society would not break down overnight - it would be a gradual unravelling. I don't want a book where the world ends in the first chapter and everyone is running around fighting for the rest of the book - I want it to unravel slowly, little by little, with the British people changing from moaning about the weather to realising "this is serious" and the interactons between them taking up most of the book. No Zombies, no gun-toting gangs or any other audience grabbing gimmicks

Will it sell? Don't care really. I write for my own pleasure. It will be real though. Not glammed up for the Hollywood audience - as realistically I am not expecting to get that far! After all I do not make any money out of this blog but I still do it. Would you buy a book written by me? Only you know that. All I know is I have searched high and low for a brilliant novel written on this subject and I cannot find it. So the only thing left to do is write it myself.

Jason xx

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