I think it’s good to keep a sense of perspective. Be sensible. Don’t rush things, or appear desperate. Do your own thing. Don’t push. Take your time. Think it through.
All my life, I’ve had pretty good luck. I’m not saying that I won the National Lottery in utero or anything, but that a lot of the time things tend to go my way. I don’t really believe in luck – it’s more being in the right place at the right time – but I believe you can use your gut to work out where that place is, or when that time is.
I spent a year abroad, teaching in China with my better half. I had the best placement on the entire course – total freedom to do whatever I wanted with children I only saw once a week. We watched TV shows, had interesting discussions, played word games – nobody else had this experience. Every other person I spoke to would find themselves either bogged down with work, or in the middle of some Kafkaesque nightmare. I was never arrested, never deported, never mugged – the closest I came to criminality was somebody offering me hashish in the lift at Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong.
If you go to Hong Kong, stay at Chungking Mansions. It’s a sight to behold. Talk about a fucking melting pot.
On my return I managed to find an incredibly well-paying job, with short hours – hours I use to write. I’m pretty good at keeping a writing schedule. It’s rare I don’t write at least two things a day, be they news pieces or reviews for various sites. I have enough cash for gigs, to run a car, to book holidays.
I know that I am fortunate. I know that I am lucky to be able to perform reasonably well in a role that I enjoy. I like writing. It helps me to organise my thoughts. I’m not a very good talker, but I love to read, which helps my writing. I’m sorry if you’ve heard this all before.
I thought I had a great idea for a novel the other day – you know that song “The Impossible Dream”? Well, I thought it’d be cool if that song were actually a musical record of one man’s adventure, and that maybe I could tell the story of that adventure.
As it turns out, that is actually what “The Impossible Dream” is. It’s the main song from the musical Man of La Mancha, which in turn is based on Don Quixote. Being a total moron who doesn’t know anything about musicals, I effectively thought that maybe I’d write Man of La Mancha. What a dickhead.
I really like the idea of repurposing existing works, like that. They can’t all be from musicals based on classic Spanish novels, can they? Is “My Way”, the song I regularly conflate “The Impossible Dream” with anyway, suitable for a novelisation? It’s a bit old-hat, really. It’d have to be a song everybody has heard, but people aren’t sick of.
I suppose all I have to do is listen to every song ever recorded. Better start now – I’m not getting any younger. Like I said, I’m fortunate. Sigh.