Bad news, like Bologna sausage, is often best delivered as a sandwich.
Soft, crusty bottom slice: I received thirteen pairs of socks for Christmas. Thirteen. How is this a good thing? The last few birthdays and Christmases I've noticed the socks gifted to me have been thin, black, shiny, nylon, barely-above-ankle-socks. The kind of socks modelled by men of advanced years who probably have no more say over their sartorial needs than a strategically shaved chimp has over its resemblance to George Bush. These thirteen pairs are soft, trendily patterned, flash-able, well-above-ankle-socks. (Okay. As good news that sucks. But that's the best I had for 2010.)
The not-so-tasty filling: the toilet in my 'lodge' exploded. I have a three bedroomed wooden hut in Scotland which the rest of the family refer to as 'The Lodge'. Last month the temperature dipped below -20°C. Cold enough to split copper pipes, burst plastic shower housings and splinter ceramic toilet suites. The nice man with a van is still working on it. I wait eagerly for the bill. Not.
Yummy top slice: 2010 has been one of my toughest ever. Book sales have dropped, I only managed to sell fifteen short stories, other work has been virtually non-existent and self doubt has meant I've started and stopped four novels. The novel situation has been the worst. One day the idea looks great, the next it's not good enough, so I switch to another. A depressing cycle that threatened to consume me. Until yesterday. A young woman who's writing I admire praised a book of mine. I practically cried with relief that someone thought my efforts were not a complete waste of paper. It gave me such a boost I've churned out twenty-five thousand words and haven't slept yet. And yes. I do recognise how shallow this need for praise makes me seem. But I don't care. I'm working again.
A belated Happy New Year everyone.