I have to admit that this book is fighting me for every bloody word. It's like wrestling with a greasy weasel. Only a greasy weasel made of words. Typed into a computer... That doesn't make angry, oily, squeaky noises, or bite... so not really like a greasy weasel at all. But you know what I mean. If we have to battle for absolute truth in our analogies, the world would be a much duller place.
Anyway, back to the book. I remember number one being a joy, number 2 being a lightly-oiled mouse, and number 3 being a well-lubricated hamster, but number 4 is the greasiest weasel of them all. Looks like Mr Billingham was right when he said they just keep on getting more and more difficult to write.
I wonder if this is true of all books, or if it's something more specific to series characters... but whatever it is, it's a pain in the arse. Or perhaps it's just 'new book jitters'? You know the ones: where as soon as you start writing the rose-tinted glasses fall from your eyes and the reality of having to take your brilliant idea and turn it into an actual book that makes sense hits you between the eyes like a well hurled haddock?
Or perhaps it's down to some sort of perverse bastard deity?
Francis de Sales is the patron saint of writers, so he should be intervening on our behalves, when books act like small slippery woodland carnivores. But then he's busy being the patron saint of authors, journalists and the deaf, so that probably takes up a lot of his time. Being as he is dead and all.
Why the deaf? I mean, it's cool that everyone gets a patron saint and all, but what bright spark decided that the bloke who looks after authors, journalists and writers -- let's face it: professional liars -- would be the sort of guy to take care of the deaf as well? Don't they deserve someone a bit less associated with 'making shit up'? And as far as I can tell, he's been canonised for having particularly crap doctors. Still his feast day is on January 29th, so we should probably burn some sort of sacrificial offering, or he may become enraged and return from the dead to smite us with his fearsome gonads. Smite, smite, smite. Mind you, if you're a writer (rather than an author or a journalist) you can also get John the Apostle to put in a good word for you, when he's not acting as a go-between for poison sufferers. Between you and me, I think that would be the more urgent of his duties, don't you?
"Oh St. John, mighty is mine anguish: chapter three is shite and I have no idea why. My characterisation is thin... I could do with a decent plot twist as well. And while you're at it, please smite down Jeffery Archer and Dan Brown with your mighty, vengeful gonads!"
"Shit! I've been bitten by a snake! AAAAARGH!!! I've been bitten by a fucking snake!!!"
Of course nearly everyone has a patron saint these days, even lawyers. And not just one either, lawyers have St. Mark, St. Raymond of Penyafort, St. Yves, and the ever lovely St. Thomas More looking after the tarnished and tattered scraps of their immortal souls. Assuming they have any.
But politicians? Nada. There are even two patron saints of stomach disorders: Timothy, and Wolfgang. So if you've got a bad dose of the Norris McWhirters you've got someone to pray to when you're tuning the porcelain tuba, but not one dead canonised catholic wants to be associated with politicians.
Can anyone say, 'lost cause?'