It's Day Four of my freedom. Last Friday was my last day at work. I was surprised at how emotional I was saying goodbye to everyone. Well, everyone who was left after retrenchment had decimated the ranks. It’s like a morgue there now. And in the next month or so half of those who remain will be leaving as well.
Retrenchment has a good side and a diabolical. The dark side involves having to join the unemployment benefit queue at 7.30 in the morning to register. One full day and 2 very early mornings later and I am finally registered. To give the Department its due, the two extra mornings were the Bank’s fault! But it’s done and I don’t need to enter its unhallowed doors again until 1 August.
The good side of retrenchment is that it comes chock-a-block with advantages. Distinct advantages. Like only getting up at 10, going for walks whenever you feel like it, meeting friends for coffee or lunch without having to watch the time, going to late night movies in the middle of the week, curling up on the couch with a good book—it’s like being on holiday, without the dread of going back to work lingering in the back of your mind. The issue of paying the rent in the next few months hasn’t quite sunk in yet, as you may have guessed.
But the best advantage is having more time to write! In fact, while some were dreading the retrenchment I couldn’t wait! The sunny side of the street, the silver lining, the Pollyanna syndrome, whatever you want to call it, all I know is it’s better than stress, worry and ulcers. Writing ensures my life makes sense; everything works, as I’ve said before. Following your passion makes dreams come true. In the immortal words from South Pacific, “If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” But you can’t just have the dream, you have to own it and work it as well.
And I now have all this free, unfettered time to WRITE! Oh, glorious day.
As I may have mentioned before, The Device Hunter only lets me plot a few chapters ahead at a time rather than the whole book. Yet, in the one full day I’ve had to sit down and tackle the beast, I’ve covered a lot of ground. I'm now on Chapter 22 and I am finally getting to grips with the intricacies and nuances of the plot so far and have the next set of broad outlines eager to come out and play. So that's good. I asked a friend (and yes, I know writers should never ask friends or family to read their unpublished stuff, but my friend and I have worked together on TV projects and are used to telling each other the hard truth about a project), anyway, I asked this friend to read the first, very rough, draft of the initial twenty chapters and his comment was—it was badass! Which is excellent news.
Harcourt's Mountain is going well, the cover's done, the editor has sent the text to the publisher and I am counting down the days to the 15th of August when it gets launched. I stilll can't believe I've got this far. I can’t wait to hear what the reviewers say about the book! Waiting with baited breath and some trepidation, to be honest.
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Stand back! I have an imagination and I'm not afraid to use it!