Hello 2014, please be kind, thanks

“A dear friend just the other day said, ‘It’s been four years, wow — that was such a long time ago now.’ A lot happens to busy people in four years. But my emotional reaction to that was to think  ‘No, it was YESTERDAY….’ ”  Floating Poems 

So, the previously-lovely Christmas break went a bit downhill after the 25th. At one point I genuinely thought my parents would be the first couple to file for divorce after 31 years of marriage due to irreconcilable differences over how to deal with a neighbours’ abandoned cat. In desperation I ended up reporting Fuckwit Neighbour to the RSPCA, who say they are currently assessing what to do. I know it’s the sort of thing you see in Take A Break and assume a giggling intern made up but trust me, I’m not joking. Thankfully the folks managed a truce over new year. Mum has given up trying to reason with Fuckwit Neighbour and just made a nice shelter for the cat in the shed so he can go in there when they disappear for long stretches. I expect the RSPCA won’t do anything. It seems wrong on principle to have to provide shelter for someone else’s cat; on the other hand, no-one can cope with any more confrontation right now so perhaps it’s for the best, etc. [edit: Fuckwit Neighbour came around twice this morning, the first time ranting and raving, the second time crying. His girlfriend came round separately, seeming reasonable and embarrassed by the whole thing. Suspect she’s threatened to dump him over his cat-neglecting ways and he blames us…]

As for me and the year ahead – reality bites. Incredibly, it’s three years this spring since The Year With All The Crazy Things, some of which I’ve talked about at length here before and others I wish I could but can’t. (A friend I told soon after a particular event politely advised me not to say anything about it online, however anonymised…she was right to, but sitting on my hands every time there’s a tangentially-relevant story in the news is awfully trying after years…). Some people have suggested my relationship with time is peculiar in terms of the strength of feeling I’m able to have around events relative to how long ago they were; others say it’s perfectly normal (the quote above comes from this brilliant blog post about the relationship between time and difficult events). What’s still largely keeping me going is that I know a lot more awesome people than I ever have, and have far better relationships with the ones I’ve known since I was younger. Knowing awesome people is great, obviously, but ultimately only a distraction from the fact I currently have very little idea what I’m doing with my life and where to go with my business in order to make it as profitable as it needs to be (and none of the said awesome people are in an immediate position to help with that).

Me and The Book had a bit of a falling out in late-November/early December (basically the usual internal tussle between “Wah, what if X, Y and Z read it and think bad things?” and “No, self, you’ll be lucky if your parents read all of it, never mind X, Y and Z, stop being a pillock and get on with it”) and I’m trying to work out how to patch things up and catch up on my wordcount. My latest target is something like: Finish in March, couple of weeks off at Easter, edit in May, query in June-July/October-November. I will be 30 in June. When I was at my worst ever point circa a decade ago only thing I knew for sure I wanted to have achieved by 30 is to have completed a novel, and it’s the only thing I’m at all likely to, so I suppose that’s something. I have another London speaking gig – hopefully somewhere made of glass with nice sandwiches – later this month hosted by a org I’ve spoken with before, and have been asked to a meeting next week to discuss new copywriting work (They seem keen, but I’ve had many a meeting before about an “exciting long-term project“, only to get a call the following week saying the budget’s been slashed to zilch, so forgive me for not being excited yet…)

On the way to a family dinner in Central London on New Years Eve I tried to gatecrash a very swanky bar that holds a particular significance. I didn’t manage to because it was boxed off and empty and I felt a bit daft waiting around for it to open up (next to a middle-aged foreign businessman who was asking Santa for a photo with his wife – there’s a level of wealth that buys immunity from feeling silly, I’m guessing…). A cocktail in there costs the same as an off-peak ticket to London. I had a daydream that if the book gets sold I’ll go back there and buy one. Just one. If you’ve read to the end of this, you can come as well. It’s only fair, right?

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