Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions



March 4, 2018 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

The Beast from the East has struck.

Which is to say some weather happened and, in line with modern politics and the sweeping tides of populist xenophobia we have come to know and love, we identified that it was dangerous immigrant weather and named it accordingly. The Beast from the East is on your doorstep and probably wants to marry your daughter to a camel just to see what the babies look like.

Bloody foreign weather. Messing up our streets and stealing our jobs and making our daughters enter into interspecies marriages with quadrupeds.

Although almost nobody wants their daughter married to a dromedary*, one unexpected side effect of the brutal beasting we have endured is that much of the UK literally closed for business during the back half of last week**. This included my own place of dayjobbery. The sudden cessation of activity felt a bit like when you push hard to open a door just as somebody pulls it open from the other side. There’s a vague sense of not knowing what’s going on, a stagger, and then a pregnant pause while your brain catches up with things.

I’m in the pregnant pause.

The new dayjobbery is going well. It’s challenging and unfamiliar, so uses a lot of brainspace. I’m enjoying the process of learning the many, many new things. If by xmas I feel like I know what I’m doing some of the time then I will consider that a win. Until then I will focus on not sucking too obviously, and bluffing grandiosely when I genuinely have no idea what’s going on.

Since I started in November I’ve done almost nothing but think about dayjobbery. My free time has seen me powered down, in a sort of energy conserving sleep mode, and that’s not something I feel remotely guilty for. I’ve needed the downtime because I am old and easily confused by new things.

Now it’s three months later and I am starting to feel slightly confident in my ability to feign a low level of competence. When on Wednesday I was all prepped for things to happen and they didn’t, and then they failed to happen on Thursday and Friday as well, I was able to stop and think. No dayjobbery to do. No need to enter sleep mode.

It was time to put together another writing plan.

I’ve done that now. I’m not going to tell you what it is. I’ve had writing plans before, and they go wrong more often than they go right. I will spare myself the awkward public shuffling as my own narrative collapses, and keep the detail to myself. I’ll share the results as we go along, hopefully.

For now I’m sort of clearing the decks. April 1st is, as usual, the start of my writing year – has been for ages, because of tax. March then is a time for clearing things down, dusting things off, and seeing what needs to be tweaked or repaired before I start the engine up again. I’m going into this year with two short stories already ‘forthcoming’, written and accepted for books currently being turned from ideas into things you can buy. When there are full details and release dates I’ll let you know.

For now, it’s a good feeling starting a year with a couple of things already in the bag. It feels less like starting from scratch than usual.

*I have had a long chat with my daughter about this, pointing out that no two camels are the same, and each should be judged on its merits, and the decision is hers to make. This probably makes me some sort of snowflake liberal, which is at least meteorologically topical.

**Due to a Met Office red weather warning, meaning that there was a likely risk to life if we tried to open our front doors. That we coped very poorly with the few inches of snow that fell most places is going to make it difficult for us to look Canada in the eye from now on, but we did not do well. No sir.

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