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Monday 3rd May 2021


We took a two and a half hour bank holiday walk to the woods (it would have been about 70 minutes if I’d been on my own, but my kids are really slow and keep messing about with feathers and stuff and playing games). Luckily it was early enough that the weather was OK, though it was a bit chilly. On my evening dog walk the wind blew icy rain into my face and it felt like broken glass being chucked at me by God. 
I remember resenting having to go on walks with my family as a kid (though I was maybe a bit older than my kids then), but as a parent it’s rather lovely. Some people from our village have made a little theatre in a hollow near the woods and we stood outside it and put on our own show. The kids mainly did acrobatics, my wife attempted a cartwheel which was so poor that I booed (and was told off by the MC, Phoebe for my rudeness) and I tried to do some audience work with the kids, but they weren’t really playing ball. I tried the Dr Who? Knock knock joke with my son, but he didn’t even know what he was meant to say and I don’t think he’s seen Dr Who, so it didn’t go down so well.
We took a selfie in front of the bluebells and gathered sticks for the fire and played sharks. Nobody moaned or cried or fought (though the little ones were a bit tired out towards the end) and it felt like a successful family event. It was 10.30am by the time we were home, so maybe we’d shot our bolt a bit early, but it meant we could take it easy as the day went on. We had been planning to have a barbecue, but the weather was getting nasty so we played and watched TV instead.
I helped my daughter with her homework and she had to write lists of things that worried her, things that made her happy and her dreams. Mummy was top of the list of things that made her happy. When I asked her if daddy might make the list too, she put me in the space between things that worry her and make her happy, which if I am honest I was happy with. It’s a step forward to have one foot in the happy list. I know she loves me really and we have loads of silly fun, but how nice it would be if she ever told me! But she’s the high status one in this double act and is another in a long line of strong and appealing personalities who enjoy bullying me for my weakness.
It’s hard being six and my daughter’s worry column had some proper problems in it, though her dreams were mainly of going to a unicorn farm or living in candy land, so there’s lots of hope and happiness too. The sometimes brutal honesty of six year olds is a delight to witness though. They tell you what they like, what they don’t like, though have maybe started to get protective over their worries. 
It’s just going to get harder, but for now, it’s mainly unicorns and candy.

Enjoyed this interview with John Swartzwelder  (and bought one of his novels on kindle as a result, which hope everyone will do). Best quote, which I might stick on the wall by my desk
"Since writing is very hard and rewriting is comparatively easy and rather fun, I always write my scripts all the way through as fast as I can, the first day, if possible, putting in crap jokes and pattern dialogue—“Homer, I don’t want you to do that.” “Then I won’t do it.” Then the next day, when I get up, the script’s been written. It’s lousy, but it’s a script. The hard part is done. It’s like a crappy little elf has snuck into my office and badly done all my work for me, and then left with a tip of his crappy hat. All I have to do from that point on is fix it. So I’ve taken a very hard job, writing, and turned it into an easy one, rewriting, overnight. I advise all writers to do their scripts and other writing this way. And be sure to send me a small royalty every time you do it.”
I am convinced that I could get so much more done if I just got on with attempting to write stuff when I feel overwhelmed by the huge amount that needs to be done. So maybe I will try this technique and if it works I am happy to send John money.
Weirdly, I guess, it’s a technique that has kept me (usually) happily writing Warming Up for 6729 consecutive days, so I don’t know why I find it so hard to get on with my “proper” work. 

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