25 October 2006

new neighbourhood

Three-and-a-half years ago I moved back to St Andrews from Edinburgh. There were very good reasons for the move, or so I thought. One was to recover from a broken heart which, like a bone, never quite mended to the same shape it was. Another was to devise a television program. I don't remember the other reasons but I'm sure at the time they made sense. Regardless, the move was always meant to be temporary. A brief retreat to familiar ground to regain my strength and purpose and venture back to the real world and Edinburgh. It was not meant to last as long as it did. But I've realised that while my punctuality is quite admirable when it comes to meeting someone for lunch, or a pint, at the level of life planning it leaves a lot to be desired. It took me seven years to get my degree. My recent London jaunt was only meant to last five months: it lasted ten. I don't even want to mention when I first hoped my book would be finished.

So this short stay in Edinburgh feels long overdue. And hopefully the precursor to something more permanent. There are 4 lovely wine merchants to choose from and the same number of delis. Each has something of interest. I never stop at just one. Bread from Herbie's, a salad from Peckham's, a bottle of burgundy from Raeburn - it's sort of like pick 'n mix for grown-ups. The butcher's brilliant and I'll be trying out the fishmonger before the week's out. Of the two curry houses I have, this evening, discovered which is superior - always useful knowledge. The local pubs need more testing but I've bumped into several old friends, so that shouldn't be a problem.

In other good news, my writer's block left without the fanfare and twisted metal that heralded its arrival. The pages are flowing once again, and there are some big round numbers very close.

Oh. And I've bought a new car.

22 October 2006

One Year Later (and a few more days)

Writer's block is a strange thing. I have no shortage of explanation or excuse - there are several. Some even make sense. But there's a difference between making sense and ringing true and they all seem toneless to me. There's a strong temptation to put everything down to the car accident. Heap the writer's block, my recent anxiety, my financial troubles et al into the ravaged boot of a cherry red "L" reg Cavalier that now sits in a scrappy's yard, awaiting scavengers. But that's cheating. It's not a shortage of subject matter. There've been all sorts of goings on that merit commentary and musing. This post has been started four times, all with different openings and snippets, ranging from train journeys to old books. Everything leading to some profound observation about the year that's passed since I left St Andrews. But I don't know if I have a profound observation to make. Well, once again, I have several, but I'm not sure if they ring true, and I'm no longer interested in making a point just to look clever.

Every time I try to assess the last year I come up short. In fact, I'm having a difficult time with the last week. It's been an odd mix, and my hindsight is not necessarily in chronological order. I've cooked, run, discussed ninjas with beautiful women, drank, regretted drink, played poker and moved (temporarily) to Edinburgh. I haven't written.

I received my first rejection last week. It was from an agent. I got it on Wednesday, almost a month after I submitted my chapters to him. The email was complimentary, saying that I wrote well. It said little else. A year and only one rejection - my pace needs work.