Well that’s it, I am now ‘out’ as a write-ist. The gathering was select, just the finest crop of ‘care in the community’ patients*, but every one seemed to have a good time. And I got to drink heaps and heaps of fizzy wine, which is always a good thing, even if I have been burping like Barney Gumble all day today (not to mention trying to reply to Sarah’s comment last night, plastered as a mongoose, cue ‘one eye screwed shut, two finger typing’ gibberish). The only real disaster was jelly-related. When we told Peggy and Gordon (She Who Must’s parents) about the party – there was to be jelly and ice cream – Gordon immediately launched into a misty-eyed oration on the beauteous merits of tangerine jelly. OK, we thought, it’s not his birthday, but we can play nice: tangerine jelly it is. In order to make sure no one else’s jelly-flavour-fetish was left out, I made a huge glass bowl of multi-layered flavours. Blackcurrant on the bottom, then lime, then the much praised tangerine and finally a layer of strawberry with flumps in it (très sophisticated). The idea was to turn the whole thing out onto a plate, like a vast, wobbly rainbow and serve it in wibbly slices. Of course of all the different layers one decides that a whole night isn’t enough to set, can you guess which one? Tanger-bloody-rine. So when the jelly was turned out onto the plate we had a time-lapse demonstration of plate tectonics as blackcurrant and lime slithered on a near-liquid mantle of orangy ooze, making for the edge of the plate and freedom. Or failing that making a huge splattery mess on the floor.
The news of my impending writerhood was broken in true bastard fashion, in order to make Fiona squirm. “The big announcement,” says I, “is that I’m leaving (insert name of global IT company here) to go work for myself.” Smiles from the assembled guests, and those requiring assembly, but of an ‘is that it?’ variety. “In fact,” I said, drawing it out for as long as possible, “I’m off to Oslo in a couple of weeks as part of my new job.” By now She Who Must Not Be Teased is looking daggers in my direction and making ‘I’m going to kill you!’ hand gestures as I deliver the grand finale: “Because Tiden are publishing the Norwegian version of my first crime novel in March.” There then follows a brief, stunned silence and so on and so forth. I think the best reaction has to go to Norman, who sat and went “Oh my God!” about a half dozen times. Very gratifying: we like Norman.
So that’s it, everyone now knows about the book deal and the giving up work. The next challenge is going into work tomorrow without jumping up onto my desk, and shouting out over all the soulless little cubicles, “Buy my f***ing book!”
*From top left: Chris (Norman’s paramour), Christopher (ego-search googling brother), She Who Must Be Appeased, Norman (friend and long-time colleague), the other Stuart MacBride (father), Kim (Christopher's better half and queen of the broccolli people), My Mum (Sheena), Peggy (Fiona’s mum and Gordon's supervisor ), the aforementioned Gordon ‘I Like Tangerine Jelly’ Reid, and at the front some bearded weirdo who gatecrashed and wouldn’t wear a bloody party hat.