Monday 22nd August
Yesterday was Monday.
And it started off so well. I was up early and out with the dogs then back home for breakfast, then by 8am I was putting up a mini scaffolding tower on my stairs to reach the last section of evil woodchip paper.
The radio was on. The dogs were knackered and sleepy from walks and I was singing away and working my way through my Eastenders impressions, get outta my pub! while making a big mess.
The last year or so has been grim. Really grim. I’ve been struggling with my publishers and editors over The Hive, Delio. That’s been bubbling away for two years now (it’s draining when a project drags on). Plus, the renovations on the house, we had to go through lots of bad builders to find the good ones (which comes up in a mo). Milka died a year ago, then Bear passed last month. Both suffered long illnesses -amidst the renovations, bad-builders and edits, plus writing The Code Book 3, the editing phase for that was super hard too.
Ah you know what I mean. Life stuff, and honestly, I mean this when I say my woes are no greater than your woes. We all go through those icky times. But things have been on the up lately. There’s been a greater amount of positivity than negativity. Which is why I think yesterday stood out.
I was up the tower and my phone pings with a notification of a comment on the blog I put out the previous day about how Sundays Used To Be Shitty, But Now They’re Okay.
And it’s from a woman who said she knew me when I was a child like 40 years ago. I don’t know her. I have zero recollection of her, but she’s going foooooooooking apeshit at me for saying bad things about my mother’s cooking, and the fact that we had to sit in smoky rooms, and got left outside pubs. Which wasn’t exclusive to my childhood. Loads of people did exactly the same thing (go see the comments) – but she went batshit crazy at me. It was bizarre and verrry creepy. (The comment has been deleted and she’s been blocked.)
Then, at the same time, I get an email from my solicitor. I contracted a bathroom fitter to do my new bathroom upstairs last year. I paid him a chunk of money up front, plus we bought some of the bathroom suite through him.
He did two day’s work then jacked the job and refused to give the money back – and we never got some of the big expensive items we’d paid for. It’s been going on for ages, and he got all nasty and threatened to bust into my house and beat me up and urgh, yeah. Anyway. I’ve got insurance for legal cover so he’s being taken to court, and the court date was set for this week.
But the builder keeps coming up with reasons to adjourn things, and my solicitor says that if we say no to that we’ll get hit with court charges. Which is nuts. Aaaaand he did it again yesterday. I said to my solicitor I’ve got builders and workers in that were told not to work on that day. It’s already put things back, now we’ll have to reschedule all over again, plus I have my own projects.
But again. If I say no, then I’ll get hit with court costs. What the actual f*ck? That whole system is designed to put people off using the courts -which is why we have so many bad builders and tradespeople.
So that’s kicking off and I’m speaking to the lawyer, while the blog woman from 40 years ago is emailing and going nuts – at which point I get another email from my agent saying The Code Book 3, which was due out early summer, now won’t be out until the end of September, and The Hive Delio might be out after Christmas.
And I’m panicking and trying to tell my agent I need to earn, and I can’t earn from those books until they’re released, and I can’t release them as actual books for months cos the publisher has exclusivity – and my house is being renovated, and we lost thousands to that builder who is still messing everyone around, and the woman is still going nuts on email, and the solicitor is calling and saying we’ll have to pay more costs for refusing any further delays, and everyone is cross and angry and getting snippy, and with the best will in the world it’s hard to stay chilled when that shit is going on – so I got cross and snippy too, which only fed the bad energy and around and around it went.
And all of that by 10:30 on a Monday morning – in a house covered in dust with bare walls and a staircase made out of bits of 2×4.
Monday can do one.
I do know through industry buddies that a lot of publishers are in disarray currently, and a lot of editors are deeply worried about the whole woke movement and being cancelled which is creating very serious concerns and an incredible layer of scrutiny with edits, which in turn is putting pressure on writers and delaying schedules across the whole system. So it’s not just me, it’s across the board – but knowing that doesn’t help your own situation. And my agent can’t do anything about release dates – the poor guy is stuck in the middle.
And the solicitor can’t change the court system either. It’s not his fault – so you see, none of these things, when reflected upon, are anyone’s actual fault.
Apart from the rogue builder – which is why penalties for people like that should be wayyyyy higher than they are.
And apart from the woman from 40 years ago – but then I don’t know what’s going on in her life. I don’t have any malice towards her, it’s just deeply unpleasant to be on the receiving end of something like that.
I tried to shake it off and went for a run and did some exercise, but honestly, that stuff gets to you. It festers.
Even this morning it was still on my mind because all of it taken together brings forth a feeling of not having control over your own life. That you are subject to the whims of others, which in turn devalues your existence and, in a lot of cases, can damage confidence, not only in yourself, but in others.
People stop trusting builders. Writers choose self-publishing. And those people with content going out into the world (writers, actors, singers, animators etc) choose not to engage because of fear of trolls and mouth-frothers. People acquiesce and withdraw. They become timid.
It’s easily done. I can feel the lure of it myself. There’s always a voice in the back of your head thinking just stick with self-publishing, it’s so much easier. And fuck the renovations. Live in a dump. Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t engage. Don’t make eye-contact. Stay at home. Watch TV. Grow old. Grow weak. Become frail. Be a victim.
The builder can piss about as much as he wants. He will go to court, and he will have to pay that money back. He might go bankrupt to avoid paying. A lot of builders do. But screw him. Don’t rip people off. It’s that simple.
And regards publishing – well that’s an ongoing assessment. For now I’ll stick with it, but self-publishing is a real option. I’m writing material now. I’m never not writing – and I will be absolutely fine with self-pubbing it should that be right.
And screw the angry woman too (not literally).
People get angry all the time. We’re in a bad state as a country. Our politics and media have promoted confrontation while taking away the consequences of lying and cheating and hurting others.
But Fuck ‘Em. Fuck the trolls. Fuck the haters. Fuck the bad builders. Fuck ‘Em All.
Strive for happiness. Do the right thing. Don’t steal or cheat and seek the company of others like you.
But don’t grow timid, my friend. You are more than that. Instead, take strength in knowing we all have bad days when we feel the world is pitted against us, but there are still more good people in the world than bad people.
So smack that swatter against yer thigh and get on with it. Head up. Jaw clenched. Rarrrr! Fuck ‘Em, We’ll Win! Go get ‘em tigers.
An inspiring picture with pretty colours to help get the mojo flowing again
(Or I might just have a cuppa and a good grumble, that’s just as good too)
Much love! (And hopefully a better Tuesday)