I’d like to say ‘Happy New Year’, but I fear that if this post is anything like as depressing to read as it is to write, you really ought to look away now – I’d hate to spoil your year. All this is because, as a prelim to writing this New Year’s resolutions, I thought I’d look at how I performed against last year’s, and I have to tell you that performance has been pretty abysmal. Some results were not bad: ‘to take more notice of the DG when it comes to personal relationships’ was even a qualified success, as was ‘drink better wine but less of it’. Even the one about the waistline - if it hasn't reduced much, it is not significantly increased either.
But the bad news, as the TV weather forecasters say - the deplorable news - was the one about writing the great British novel. Plan for 2006: to average 350 printable words per day. Actual: zilcho. In fact, it’s worse than zilch: since I’ve lost the thread of much that was already written in 2005, ‘net words completed’ is a reasonable figure - but a negative one. OK, family circumstances may have made a partial contribution, but in spite of this, over the same period I’ve blogged over 68,000 words: well on the way to a novel. The solution is obvious: less blogging, more fiction.
The problem is I love blogging – it’s cosy and friendly, while novel-writing is cold and lonely. And writing the book is only the beginning – you have to market it, get if published, proof-read etc. Blogging, to a writer, must be what, to an actor, is the difference between working on stage and in films – the reaction is immediate. Or, for a musician, the Nice Jazz Festival versus the recording studio. It must be the reason why Armstrong, Basie and Hampton did one-nighters all around the world until well into their 70s or 80s: instant response.
But what people will remember is the book on the shelf – or the CD or DVD - not the blog or the live performance. When I and my contemporaries are long gone, who will there be to remember Stan Kenton’s Accrington concert? Or The Duke at the Royal Albert Hall? Or Michel Petrucciani at the Festival Hall?
So it’s a temporary (I hope) goodbye to blogging – until either there’s some progress on the book, or I abandon the whole project. And goodbye to you long-suffering readers; I’ll miss your comments – posted, verbal and e-mailed. If anything exciting happens (like Everton getting into the Champions League) you'll hear it here first or on my website.