Monday Musings. 10/8/15
As my blog post was warmly received last week (thanks), I have decided to try and make this a regular thing. The likelihood is that it will just be a fad and I will give up within 3–4 weeks. Comparable to when you are excited about trying new things as a kid but swiftly lose interest. For example, Warhammer. When I was about ten, my brother and I jumped on the bandwagon and bought — after guilt tripping our parents with the old: ‘Everyone plays it so we will be left out,’ — lots of miniatures, dice, cards et cetera in hope of spending Saturday afternoons locked in glorious battle at Games Workshop. I think I had one attempt at painting some of my figures, realized that I didn’t enjoy it at all and gave up. That kind of thing must be so irritating for parents. All I remember from the short lived hobby is a character called the Bloodthirster who cost about fifteen quid which was entirely unreasonable for a small metal monster.
With the help of my mother flogging some at her work, I sold over twenty books last week which was decent. Not quite enough to give up the day job and look up properties in the Bahamas but certainly better than nothing. I had hoped that there would be an upcoming spike in sales as a result of a recent interview I did for Forbes magazine about Hong Kong. However, the journalist who interviewed me was offered a new position with a newspaper just before it was published. Selfishly, thinking about his career instead of my book promotion, he took the job so said interview will never see the light of day. It would have been a nice thing to boast about so it’s a shame but what can you do?
My Twitter marketing attempts have continued to do almost nothing so I probably need to look at different avenues. It is difficult to convince strangers to buy your book in 140 characters. I can’t moan as I haven’t bought any books, or anything for that matter, as a result of a Tweet. A major issue is that there are so many great books available by famous authors, why would you take a punt on a debut novel from an unknown man, which could well be shit?
On this topic and on the back of Go Set a Watchman’s release, I finally read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time last week. I don’t see what the fuss is all about? I jest. It was, of course, wonderful. Reading books makes me eager to start writing a second one. Without sounding arrogant (precursor to definitely sounding arrogant like an angry man in a pub who starts a sentence with, ‘I’m not racist but…), I believe that I am capable of writing a good second novel. I’ve written a few bits and pieces but regrettably it is difficult to find the time at the moment. I know this is a weak excuse.
It was easier to write a book in Hong Kong. This isn’t because I was inspired by living in an exotic place — most ideas I had for the book came during banal everyday occurrences such as being reprimanded at work or overhearing a conversation between drunkards in a bar. I didn’t stand pen in hand, contemplatively looking at the Hong Kong skyline waiting to be inspired. It was merely down to working shifts which meant I had a lot of time on my own.
I often stayed up until 2am which isn’t feasible now that I’m back doing the 9–5 grind. My job in Hong Kong didn’t involve computers either, so on returning home from work, I’d be quite content to stare at a laptop for hours on end. Now, my job involves nothing but staring at computers so it’s not too appealing to then come home and press on. It’s a bit depressing that life often seems to revolve around staring at screens. The modern man needs constant stimulation doesn’t he? On occasion, I’ve found myself with TV, laptop, phone and Kindle all on, which is completely stupid and an extravagant way of hiding that I am actually doing nothing at all.
Also, the football season has restarted so that rules out large chunks of the weekend. It’s hard to concentrate on writing a book when your mind is diverted by fantasy football and accumulators. I went to the Leeds game on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it until Burnley equalized. I’m not going to write anything resembling a match report as I am not a football journalist and also, because most people don’t care.
Before the match, we called in at an off-license near the ground. When I was younger, we used to go here as a ritual before every match and subsequently built up a rapport with the couple who own the shop. On arrival, we were greeted with a jovial, ‘Hello, here they are again!’ which was all very nice but I hadn’t actually set foot in the shop since before moving to Hong Kong, some four years ago. For a moment, it felt as though four years of my life hadn’t happened at all. Quite a large slice of time really. There is something comforting in familiarity though and the lady confirmed the seamless resumption of our friendship by spiking a Caribbean Twist with a flask of vodka that she kept under the counter and we shared a lukewarm cocktail together out of plastic cups. Before midday.
Something unusual happened at the game; my friend and I got into an altercation with one of our own fans. He turned round and angrily told us off for ‘yammering’ because he couldn’t concentrate on the game. The pre-match cocktail may have loosened our tongues but I’m fairly sure that you don’t have to remain silent during football matches? My friend aptly told him to shut up, and he mumbled something under his breath about us being like kids in a cinema, despite the fact that I have numerous grey hairs and am pushing thirty. The telling off left me feeling awkward and a bit nervous for the remainder of the game, unsure whether I was allowed to speak. Our deep-concentrating foe proceeded to spend the majority of the match looking at his phone and then left five minutes from the end which was very odd. He clearly didn’t care that much? His early departure also stopped me from asking if he was interested in buying my book. It would have been a tough sell.