The old year is slowly dying

Ah yes, they always tell us that the New Year is a time for new beginnings, the birth of a whole new tomorrow. Shiny and bright and full of hope. But what happens to the old one, eh? It appears in greetings cards, done up as an old man with a long beard and an hourglass, counting off the last miserable, Alzheimer-ridden minutes of its life. An it's never a fat, happy-looking auld mannie with a beard, is it? No, it's always some wizened old prune who clearly has not been getting value for money out of his care home.

But no to worry, because he'll be dead soon enough.

And on that cheery thought, I suppose I could look back on the year that has been 2007 - make light of the highs, poke fun at the lows. Or just have a rant about how doing people favours always has a habit of coming round and biting one on the arse (incidentally, I discovered that the bigger the favour you do them, the more ungrateful the bastards tend to be). But 'tis the season to be jolly, and all that kind of monkey-flavoured stocking stuff, so to poop with it.

Anyway, it's December the 31st and I actually have a reason for celebrating: I finally finished the page proofs for FLESH HOUSE. Now I started this particular millstone on the 1st of January 2007, so finishing the page proofs today means that it's taken me an entire calender year to write the thing. A WHOLE YEAR. All 365 days of it. I now officially can't get any slower as a write-ist, or I'm going to have to forgo my yearly publication and hand my beard back to HarperCollins (it's in the contract - Uncle Rupert's minions negotiate like bastards!)

Thus we come instead to the upcoming lies for the fledgling year 2008. Or 'resolutions' as they're also known.

  1. I'm going to go to the pub more often. Sitting in one's underwear, talking to the cat and telling lies about people you've made up can be fun, but isn't all that conducive to good mental health. Plus it tends to terrify the post man. Getting out of the house (preferably wearing trousers) from time to time is probably a good idea.
  2. I'm going to go on holiday. And this year, 'holiday' is not going to mean turning up a half hour early to whatever event it is I'm meant to be doing so I can have a cup of tea. That is not a holiday, that is work. Holidays involve words like 'bikini' and 'yes, I will have another drink' and 'sunburn'.
  3. I'm not going to take work with me when I go to festivals or on library tours. Leave the laptop at home, beardy boy and take some books with you to read instead. Other people's books, ones you've not been conned into blurbing. Which leads me to resolution number the fourth:
  4. I'm going to read books for fun again. Yes, there will always be books I have to read - like the ones of people on the panels I've been conned into moderating (small hint: being on a panel is fun; moderating a panel is work). There are people out there whose writing I actually enjoy, and in 2008 I'm actually going to read some of them.
  5. I'm going to start saying "no" to events. I've been a dreadful tart up till now, trying not to offend anyone by turning down their invitation to speak in some shed at the bottom of their garden, which is full of snottery school children for some inadequately-explained reason. in 2008 I'm going to have a set number of things I'll do (it'll be a secret number) and once I've done that number, I'm going to say "No, I can't come and speak to your collection of garden gnomes for six hours. I've got writing to do. And a cat. And She Who Must Be Supervised To Make Sure She Doesn't Blow Up The House Again to keep an eye on." This will also free up a lot more time to work on resolution number the first.
  6. I'm going to start lying in interviews. In order to make myself seem a lot more windswept and interesting, I'm going to make shit up when asked about stuff. I'll invent great swathes of fictional backstory for myself, and do it all with a straight face. Bwahahahaha!
  7. I'm going to enjoy the writing. No more slogging my nose to the grindstone every morning. Yes, it's a big enough nose and could probably stand a little sharpening, but that kind of thing leads to nosebleeds, and I've had enough of those to last me a lifetime, thank you very much. Plus it makes me a miserable grumpy bastard, and we don't want that, do we?

I think that'll do for starters.

Till then, have a happy New Year, even if you have to step over the wrinkled corpse of the old one to get at the fruit punch.

To the drinks cupboard!

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