We have all seen too many movies, read too many stories and attended too many plays where some person (always male), his hair thinning, his relationship failing, struggles endlessly to start his novel. Or to get over his writer’s block. Or to complete the bloody thing. Or to get it published.
Great writers have whinged greatly on this theme. Jonathan Franzen (The Corrections) and Nam Le (The Boat) have fretted memorably. The world has now read, seen and heard enough on the theme.
Yet, four and a half years of my (how much?) remaining time have disappeared in the creation of my own novel, “Carrots and Jaffas”. I watched and saw the sands of my time trickle profitlessly as through an hourglass. I wrote a masterpiece each morning and re-read lines, dead and drear, each evening. I took six months off work ‘to finish the novel’. Those months passed and a further draft joined the previous six in my waste paper basket.
For the past four and a half years I have lived that cliché. My wife and family have experienced that neglect.
Now Carrots and Jaffas poke their red heads (slab-shaped due to their premature arrival, ironically polar to the postmaturity of their story) out from the beautiful, bright covers that bear their names and Hybrid Publishers commissioned for them. The twins’ struggles to survive, their unnatural/supernatural/utterly natural intimacy, their delayed individuation, their painful discovery of separated self – all these have lived within me; and now Carrots and Jaffas face the world naked and without.
They tremble before you.