Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The Freelance Leap: The Centre Cannot Hold

About eight months ago, I finished up at a day job to see what I can make of a full year of writing full time. I’m keeping track of things during these blogs, which are often on a Friday. Previous installments are racked up here.

CaseThings fall apart; the centre cannot hold. This so perfectly describes my state of mind at the moment that I refuse to believe Yeats did not write it while in the final days of a four and a half year stay in New Delhi while preparing to relocate to Glasgow in Scotland. That’s right. I refuse to believe it. Don’t trouble me with your ‘facts’ or your ‘evidence’ or your ‘allegory for post-war Europe’. I know what I know.

We’re very much in the final countdown for our move now. One week from today men will collect most of our stuff and put it on a lorry. While we fly to the UK, this stuff will go by slow boat and catch up with us in a couple of months. After it’s collected next week, there will be only a few short days until our midweek flight. That will be it for India*.

All of the anticipation has scrambled my brain. I’m in disarray. If a thing doesn’t relate to the move, it might as well not exist at all. That includes you. Your relative worth in the world correlates exactly with how much I need to pack you. Do I need to pack you? If yes, then you may have some space in my brain. If no, then you are nothing to me.

It’s harsh but true.

As a result my writing schedule has gone out of the window, jumped in a taxi, driven to the airport, and booked passage to a place of safety until everything blows over. I have allowed it to do so. Everything is officially on hold now, and will be for a few weeks. That’s not to say nothing will happen in the interim, but I am allowing chaos to reign until at least the end of June. Whatever happens does. The things that do not, will not.

Um. So stay tuned for that…

While I am too busy getting nothing done to get much done, things are happening anyway (at least, those things that require only minimal interaction with me). For example:

Vincent Chong delivered the cover art for the next Dexter Lomax adventure. Privately, I have begun to call any new piece of artwork from Vincent Chong a ‘Dignity Bomb’. Opening the email to which it is attached triggers the Dignity Bomb, which blows away my self-respect and reserved Britishness. I do childish things like giggle, and run around, and bounce. I am not a person who is ordinarily prone to spontaneous bouncing. In retrospect, it’s all a bit embarrassing.

Good lord though, it’s beautiful. I showed Kirsty, who normally says likes like ‘hm’ and ‘huh’ in such moments. This time she said ‘ooo’. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, then I don’t know what is. If you subscribe to my email newsletter you can expect a secret post just for you, probably on or around the day I’m en route to my new home. In this secret post you will learn FACTS, including the book’s title. You’ll also get to see a few of Vinny’s sketched proposals for the new cover. I might even tell you the release date! You can sign up for that at the top of this page.

I’m also pleased to announce that not only has the audiobook of Craven Place gone into production, but Thy Fearful Symmetry has too. Craven Place will be produced and narrated by Kathy Bell Denton, while Angus King will be doing similar duties on Thy Fearful Symmetry. It’s too early in the process to say much more than that, but I’m delighted to be working with them. Audiobooks are a totally new venture for me, but I suspect they live or die on the quality of a narrator. I feel in safe hands on that front.

I’m keeping track of my fairly ambitious stupidly unrealistic targets for the last few months of the freelance year here every Friday so I don’t take my own eye off the ball. Active stuff that I plan to work on between now and next Friday is in bold.

Self-Publishing Goals

  • Finish & Publish Summer Trilogy part 1: Published and launched – you can now buy The Flesh Remembers at Amazon, exclusively for the Kindle. Done.
  • Finish Summer Trilogy part 2: First handwritten draft is aside and ready for editing. I won’t look at it again until I’m in Scotland. Final version of the cover from artist Vincent Chong is in hand. You’ll recall that, because of the undignified bouncing.
  • Finish Summer Trilogy part 3: Outlined, but no work planned next week.
  • Continue The 52: Sorted. ‘The Midnight Desert‘ by Shawn Young and I was published on Wednesday. It’s short enough to be perfect coffee break material, so check it out if you haven’t.
  • Sell 5 Books A Day: So far this month I’ve sold a grand total of fifteen books. That’s 0.65 books a day. If there is a bright centre of the bookselling universe, I am on the planet that it’s farthest from.

Traditional Publishing Goals

  • Finish the 25 Day Novel: I’m still picking through the first 70,000 words, editing and refamiliarising. If there is one thing I want to finish while I’m still on Indian soil, it’s this.
  • Short Novel 1: Half-written in longhand first draft. No new work done, and none scheduled this month.
  • Short Novel 2: Quarter-written in typed first draft. No new work done, and none scheduled this month.
  • Anthology Novella: To be started. No new work done, and none scheduled this month.

Submit A New Short Story Per Fortnight

  • CANCELLED! This straw broke the camel’s back. It is an ex-straw. It is no more. it has ceased to be. It is bereft of life. It rests in peace. Until I get set up in the UK, anyway.

*When I say “that will be it for India”, I am not making some sort of veiled threat. I just want to be clear on that. India will continue. We just won’t be in it any more.

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