Thirties: Happiness – Clap Your Hands, Immediately!

The ten-part series ‘Thirties’ concludes with lesson number ten: Happiness. 38. She was recalling the events of the previous night with an almost routine predictability.  The bars, the drinks, the food, I knew them all. ‘I got talking to this guy,’ she said, veering off course, ‘and he used to teach in South Korea, too.’…

Thirties: Children – The Haves & Have Nots

The ten-part series ‘Thirties’ continues with lesson number nine: children. 38. ‘Hey, can I borrow a pencil?’, asked Ken in his cocksure drawl.  Every word he ever said was entirely for show. Graham, the target of the question, reluctantly fished a pencil out of his pencil case.  Instead of handing it over, however, he jumped up to…

Thirties: Employment – You Get What You’re Given

The ten-part series ‘Thirties’ continues with lesson number eight: employment. 37. It was just shy of five o’clock in the evening on December 22nd. The cars that filed by outside the office building dotted the darkened curve in the road with their headlamps. Inside, the working day was winding down. The Christmas CD completed yet…

Thirties: Friendship – Temporary Woes Over Bros and Hoes

The ten-part series ‘Thirties’ continues with lesson number seven: friendship. 36. A social-butterfly acquaintance of mine was sitting beside me in a taxi.  I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks due to his grinding schedule: dinner here, coffee there, drinks everywhere.  The names of those with whom he shared his time not only escaped me,…

On Writing: The Final Draft

The fifth, and final, blog for the ‘On Writing’ series, exploring the process of turning an idea into a manuscript. Next up; the final draft. And so we reach our denouement, our most anti-climactic of endings.  If you’ve followed this series of blogs as a prospective author, you’ve already made the choice to write a novel, planned…

Thirties: Health, Or Balancing Excess And Deprivation

The ten-part series ‘Thirties’ continues with lesson number six: health. 35. He was more a friend of a friend.  I only ever saw him when I hung out with a particular mate of mine.  Nine times out of ten, that would be in the pub.  We were in our early twenties; it was hardly out of…

On Writing: The Second Draft

The fourth blog for the ‘On Writing’ series, exploring the process of turning an idea into a manuscript. Next up; tackling the second draft. In the previous ‘On Writing’ post, I suggested that you, the writer, should hand over your completed first draft to some fresh eyes for a critique.  In truth, that wasn’t a suggestion;…

Thirties: The Competition Of Travel

The ten-part series ‘Thirties’ continues with lesson number five: travel. 34. Those who read part 33 of this series will recall that I recently spent time in a medical facility undergoing a clinical trial.  In the conclusion, I mentioned some of my fellow participants, in particular ‘backpackers funding their next trips.’  There were two of them,…

On Writing: Getting Through The First Draft

The third blog for the ‘On Writing’ series, exploring the process of turning an idea into a manuscript.  Next up; getting through the first draft.   Right, so you’ve decided to ruin your life and doggedly planned your novel.  Inevitably, the next step is the first draft.  Time to get motivational.  You can do it, buddy!…

Thirties: Time; Or Seizing Carpe Diem By The Throat

The ten-part series ‘Thirties’ continues with lesson number four: time. 33. They say do one thing everyday that scares you, so I signed up for a sixteen day long clinical study.  That’s over two weeks of scaring myself by having Alzheimers medicine tested on me.  The very thought of it made me sweat carpe diem.  Even…

On Writing: Planning A Novel

The second blog for the ‘On Writing’ series, exploring the process of turning an idea into a manuscript.  In this piece; planning. Let’s just dive straight in with a cliché. By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. The much vaunted words of passionate teachers to indolent students a week before vital exams.  Every year,…

Thirties: Football & Hyper-Masculinity

The ten-part series ‘Thirties’ continues with lesson number three: rejecting the hyper-masculinity surrounding football, and by extension, society. 32. A young man of 19 was preparing to take a corner.  From behind him, a much older, fatter, simpler man, capable of being his father, leaned over the advertising hoarding.  At a distance of four yards…