Twenty years later…

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Getting round to things. Those days (weeks, months, years) when you don’t get done those things you really want or need to do. I’m not talking about ordinary, everyday, common-or-garden procrastination; this goes way beyond that. I’m talking about those things that haunt your mind – you know you need to get to them – but somehow you just don’t.

Have you got boxes in your attic/dungeon/guest bedroom that have been there since you moved in? Less than a year doesn’t count, btw. I’m talking about the ones you never forget – their very presence lurks just beyond the fringes of your perception. Their soft siren-calls come to you in the dead of night…”Don’t you – forget about me…” (thanks to Billy Idol for that one.)

I’ve got stories that have been waiting for revision since the mid-1990s. In fact I probably have some from the 1980s, or even earlier but I’m too scared to look. The knowledge that, unless I act now, in a couple of years those dusty old scripts will be able to club together and buy me a silver anniversary card is enough of a prod to make me actually prise open the drawers and start pulling out all those yellowed pages. And start reading.

What was I afraid of? I’ve no idea. All I can say is, I’m reasonably happy with what I read. Not full-blown “Wow, I’m Brilliant!” happy but a quietly confident “I don’t suck as much as I thought and I can absolutely do something with this” happy.

As I said a few months ago, for me 2015 is the year of writing dangerously. Some of the dust-covers have to come off for that. And as I pull off the dust-covers, underneath I behold – new ideas, fresh thoughts – twenty years old it’s true, but still so, so me.

And the things that made me stumble all those years ago – plot holes, problems with language and expression – now, solutions quickly present themselves, the difficulties erased by time, a fresh eye, and experience. Suddenly, as the kaleidoscope of my mind turns on these ideas, things begin to slot into place and a picture is formed. Which shows me, sometimes it is better to wait.

Twenty years after I began it, this one is now published!