Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Getting Fitter

2017: Not Being A Camel-Bothering Ass Gibbon

Hello 2017! Thank you for coming to rescue us! 2016 was a monster, so you need to…wait. Why are you smirking? And chuckling? Are your eyes always slitted and red? STOP LOOKING AT DAME JUDI DENCH LIKE THAT!

Let’s not pretend for a second that the world at large is going to behave any differently from last year. If you thought 2016 was just smashing then that’s well and good. You have a great deal to look forward to. I didn’t think it was smashing at all, and I’m bracing for 2017 to suck in all sorts of ways I’m not in control of.

But that’s okay. The world doesn’t owe me anything. Nobody and nothing does. One thing that has irritated me over the last twelve months has been people with an exaggerated sense of entitlement. Entitlement issues turn even the nicest people into camel-bothering ass gibbons.

Camel-bothering ass gibbons may or may not be a real thing, but they definitely are, and I’ve watched all manner of people become them in recent months. It’s a deeply unpleasant spectacle, manifesting primarily in a sort of whiny noise emitted when life doesn’t hand their desires to them on a special silver platter embossed with their name and a list of wonderful ways in which they are them. In the early stages only dogs can hear the cry of the camel-bothering ass gibbon and it can make even the gentlest family pet savage a baby, but you can feel it sometimes in your fillings when they’re nearby, and eventually you can hear it with your ears and once you tune in you can’t tune back out and it’s ENTITLEMENT ALL THE WAY DOWN.

If a camel-bothering ass gibbon gets too close then its whine can rupture the blood vessels in your eyes so that you cry blood.

If you could all do your best not to be camel-bothering ass gibbons this year, that would be nice.

You should make plans for 2017. Ones that have nothing to do with the political landscape. By all means get involved with that, as I will, but do it in addition to the plans you have for yourself. That’s how I’m going to play it. The more I have going on, the more insulated I am. The better my insulation, the greater the chance that I will avoid becoming a camel-bothering ass gibbon myself. Having invented them, I definitely don’t want to become one.


I have got to get over whatever inner nonsense is stopping me from finishing the stories I keep starting. I don’t really know what it is, but I do know that when I’m writing stories I’m more myself than at any other time – which makes me better at all the other things I need to be involved in. You know. Basic adulting and such. Relaxing and seeing what comes hasn’t worked. Loathe though I am to admit it – because I would LOVE to be a free floating creature of whimsy who still gets things done – I need to re-professionalise my approach to writing. Without structure, I drift. That’s job one. Everything else – submitting things, publishing them – is something for later.


I noticed the other day just how few books by women I’ve been reading over the years. That made me feel icky. In 2017 then, once I’ve finished what I’m reading now, I’m picking up nothing but books by female authors (with the sole exception of books I might need to read for research). I have a large To Be Read pile featuring mostly men that can wait until 2018 (sorry if that includes your book). As ever, feel free to point me in the direction of books you think I should try via the comments below. I don’t want ordinary books. I want fantastic ones. Go. Your writers need you. Recommend them with gusto.


My completely arbitrary goal in 2017 is to run 1000 miles, or twice a Proclaimers hit. Along the way there will be races.  I have the first six months planned out with a race every couple of months. Next week I’ll do a quick 5km dash at the Great Winter Run around Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. In March I’ll be running a marathon under dark skies at Kielder in the Northumbria. In May I’ll be lining up for the inaugural Stirling marathon. I know there are some runners among you – if you want to join me at any of these then I’d be very glad of the company. I haven’t decided what to do for the back end of the year yet. Practical suggestions are more than welcome.


I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging here, to the relief of many no doubt. However it’s something that makes me feel connected, not only with the things I’m doing but with you. I miss you guys. Group hug?

In 2017 I want to blog more. I may end up talking to myself a lot, but what’s the harm in that? If it keeps me sane and on track then it can only be a good thing.

Other Stuff

I know who some of my people are, and I’d like to fold as many of them into my 2017 as possible while finding the new ones. Some are easy, because I live with them. Some are very far away. This may take some work, but let’s see what we can do. Also, dayjobbery. A change would be nice. Some sort of movement or progression. Anything to keep me from going off the boil. Dayjobbery in one form or another will be with me for the foreseeable, and I’d like to find some direction with it.

That’ll do. I’d rather not think of them as resolutions, because resolutions don’t last. They’re a bit of potential structure against which to brace myself when 2017 inevitably tears into us. What about you? What do you need to do to survive the coming year?

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