Saturday 9 February 2008

Unproductive and spineless

14st 9lb again this morning; two units of alcohol yesterday evening (orange Curaçao and Drambuie, which is probably something of a nadir. On the one hand, at least they weren’t mixed together. On the other, it’s a thoroughly depressing thought that, once upon a time, “experimentation” late on a Friday night would have had sexual connotations); 1,456 days left; Fair Isle.

In my determination to get back to a calorie-reducing writing regime yesterday, I decided that I should re-start the Big Novel that has been my theoretical life’s work for as long as I can remember. So I dug out my numerous previous efforts in an attempt to assist the creative process by working out where I had been going wrong. As a result, I again spent the whole day reading instead of writing, with predictable results so far as my waistline was concerned. I was also slightly unnerved by reading a critique I had produced of my third attempt to reduce my magnum opus on the last days of the pre-Big Bang City to manageable size, and finding that it was dated 8 February 2007. So perhaps my life really is not merely in a rut, but a loop.

Today I made an excellent start by getting up early and actually doing some writing in the morning. But then my aunt rang up, in the role of the inevitable man from Porlock, and proposed popping up to see me. At least we found a pub within ten miles that does a perfectly acceptable lunch (though it will no doubt have changed hands and gone completely off the rails by the time I return to it), and had an agreeable, gentle walk in the afternoon sunshine. As Beryl Bainbridge remarked on the repeat of Desert Island Discs I heard yesterday morning, if she’d led a normal, happy life she would probably never have written a word. It seems very strange, in the circumstances, that there aren’t several yards of books on the shelves of the nation’s copyright libraries with my name emblazoned on their spines.

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