Terry Practhett has written, “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”

From now on, light – when it arrives – will find darkness and me.

Here’s why:

A couple of years ago I got some money from the Arts Counsel to help with writing a novel, so I wrote one. Its limited readership thought it showed promise, and spoke encouragingly of my writing, but no one one could really get beyond the fact that it was frankly rubbish.

Well-written, yes, occasionally amusing, and, as they said, “promising” – but rubbish nonetheless.

Then life got in the way. I left my life of glorious isolation in the Oxfordshire countryside – the village greens and Cotswold stone; rural inns and river walks – and moved to London.

In the capital, life goes at a million miles an hour. Here, it’s nothing but binge drinking, night buses, giddying choices, wrestling traffic, and eight million people. It’s very hard to concentrate.

Tough to concentrate, and tough to find time for anything beyond what’s in your now-bursting diary, and the (roughly equal) hours you put into threading yourself through the Byzantine maze of tube lines and bus stops to find your way to and from those things.

There aren’t enough hours in the day.

And the only place I can think to look for more is in what Baudelaire called Le Crépuscule du Matin (“The Morning Twlight”). Then, said Baudelaire, “is the hour when the swarm of malevolent dreams / Makes sun-browned adolescents writhe upon their pillows.”

Well no malevolent dreams or pillow writhing for me. I’ll be waking at 5am to get in two hours of writing before striking out for the working day.

And not the rubbish novel: something new.

It’s going to be a hard regimen to stomach. Which is what this blog is here for: to make me take my medicine. If nothing else, it’s going to be a shameful record of my own halting progress. I won’t be serialising the novel here. I’m mainly going to use this to talk about what goes on between the hours of 5 and 7am, and to give an account of how the novel’s going.

Probably, I’ll prattle on about a few other of my pet topics too: among them, Stoke City FC, stuff I saw on the TV, stuff I saw on the internet, learning to speak Hindi, mastering the double bass, and shops that sound like people.

At best, a few people might read it, and perhaps write to me with encouraging words. Maybe one or two might be doing the same thing, and we can lend each other moral support and stimulating banter through those darkened hours.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. One of my rubbish novel’s early readers told me not to dive in and just start writing, but lay it all out in detail first; write myself an outline. So that’s what I’ll do.

It begins on Monday, before the light arrives.


One Response to “About”

  1. […] turns out that quite a lot of writers have had getting up early routines over the years. The Terry Pratchett line that (in a roundabout way) gave this blog its name probably needs modifying: Light, “No […]

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