Today marks exactly one calendar year since I started working on FLESH HOUSE (AKA: Book Number The Fourth). She Who Must Chauffeur Her Bearded Husband So That He Can Take Photos Out Of The Car Window Or Slam On The Brakes When He Shouts, "Stop! Stop -- Look At That!" and I took a special trip into town to experience Aberdeen in all her Halloween glory. Or not as the case turned out.
When I were a lad (cue the theme-tune from the Hovis advert and sepia camerawork) Halloween was a time for dressing up in proper costumes and learning a party trick. Said party trick would be exchanged for sweets / fruit / and in one instance a cassette tape of James Bond theme music*. It was a time of dookin' for apples; tattie scones smeared in sticky, drippy treacle, hanging from the garage roof so the smeary tar-like substance wouldn't get trodden into the carpet; a time for lucky dips; making lanterns out of neeps (or turnips if you must be all posh about it)...
What it wasn't was a time for buying a crappy £1.50 mask from a supermarket, tying a black-plastic-bag round your shoulders and screaming, "Trick or treat?" at random strangers. The childhood equivalent of demanding money with menaces.
Last year, when we did our little research trip, the only people who seemed to be getting dressed up to go out weren't the little kids, but the students: staggering from bar to bar in a variety of questionable costumes. It's not often you get to see Superman being sick, while a very hairy nun pees in a shop doorway.
But I digress. The thing is that it was a year ago I started seriously thinking about Book 4, and now a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of other books. Book Number The Fifth, to be precise.
Which is a little premature, as we've not even had the line edit of the last one yet. I spent so long on the second draft that the whole schedule has slipped further back than ever. This will not do. I have determined that Book 5 will be finished well in advance of my May deadline. I will not pick apart every rancid-son-of-a-bitch-ing word during the edit. I will have fun writing it, damn it, and I won't spend every waking hour of every waking day either writing the thing, or worrying about it. I'm going to take up a hobby, and have days off, and tickle my cat**.
This is my manifesto for Book Number The Fifth.
And like all political promises, I expect it all to fall apart as soon as I'm elected.
* The tape came from our next door neighbour. He later died in a car crash and the police came to the house to ask my parents if I could come out to play -- i.e. come down to the mortuary and identify his body. They declined. Which is probably just as well, or I might have turned out a bit odd.
** No, that's not an euphemism, you filthy birds.
Labels: Book Number The Fifth, Flesh House, ramble