Time Flies When You’re Having Fun…

June 26, 2007 at 6:49 am (Uncategorized)

I can’t believe it’s already a quarter past four. I’ve been working all day on the beginnings of a second MS and, yes, I am clearly some kind of deeply disturbed masochist. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you I’m at it again, especially with the first one lying dormant, unread and unpublished, over there by the window. I had a look at it yesterday, actually, which was awful, and I’ve decided the only way I can get over the encroaching horror is to start writing something else and forget all about the first one.

Actually, let’s be straight. I’m calling it the first one, but really it’s the second one. Since I’m telling the truth, you might as well know I tried drafting a novel when I was living in London a number of years ago. That manuscript too is unpublished and unread. It doesn’t even have the entirely dubious honour of being known as my first failed attempt anymore. I’ve stripped it of the title and pushed it into a hidden box at the top of a cupboard no one ever opens. Now I’m calling this second MS my first go, because it’s my first “real” go. Did I imagine that first effort? No, but I’d very much like to forget it.

I know it’s abysmal. Really, really dire. So I’m not counting it because it doesn’t really count. Neat logic, don’t you agree? I’m perfectly serious, too. I think in order for me to count it, I would have to believe it attained some kind of even wobbly standard (arbitrary and self-monitored, true, but still), whereas I’m in no doubt whatsoever about its complete and utter lack of merit. The only thing overwhelmingly in its and my favour is that I didn’t subject a great many people to the chore of reading it.

Now the second MS draft is done, I really do think of it as my first try. It’s not strictly speaking true, as I’ve just said, but on another level it’s absolutely right. And what does it matter? First, second, sixth, tenth – I could keep going for the next twenty years like this. If I keep producing manuscripts and they keep getting precisely nowhere, then it seems to me the order in which they come is something of an irrelevancy.

But the past two days have flashed by, they really have, and I’d like to think it’s because of No. 2 (a.k.a No. 3, but not really) giving me so much in the way of hard and satisfying graft that I just can’t keep track of the hours ticking by. Is that the time? Amazing. Yesterday I wrote 5,000 new words. Today, nearly 3,000 so far. And yes, don’t I know it, perhaps it’s all just so much wet, loose crap, but I’m only ever going to get better if I keep trying to firm up these bothersome and unpleasant stools, aren’t I? A bit more fibre in the diet, so to speak, and maybe one day Bob really will be your uncle.

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