Wednesday, May 02, 2007


The "Wall of Signed" technique

Things haven't been too good lately. I've had a really bad two weeks -- I won't go into details -- but I'm going to try to pull myself together and knuckle down to some work again. I have a novel, four short stories and two articles to write. I have to get to grips with the music that will accompany my Sereia de Curitiba book. I also have to sign the signature sheets for my Crystal Cosmos, all 726 of them! This isn't a task I relish... I picked up a parcel from the Post Office on Monday and I was excited until I opened it and saw all the sheets of paper that need to be signed.

In one session I can sign 200 sheets easily enough, but after that things start getting weird. The task of signing one own's name again and again creates all sorts of feelings -- boredom, despair, an unjust sense of narcissism. After the 400 mark is reached, the signer enters a trance, a travesty of a genuine mystical state, which lasts until number 600. Then blisters, fever, madness take over! The publisher who inflicted this task upon me is none other than the redoubtable Pete 'Spectre' Crowther -- infamous exponent of the 'Wall of Signed' technique...

Sad to say, the introduction to my Crystal Cosmos was written by Michael Bishop, whose son Jamie was one of the victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre. What can one say to someone who has lost his son in such circumstances? My own problems look extremely small in comparison.

I also have to decide what I'm going to do with the summer. My new relationship hasn't worked out, for reasons that have nothing to do with our suitability as a couple, and so my plans have changed. I was intending to leave for Portugal early in June and spend two or three months cycling across Spain before returning to Swansea. My book launch in Lisbon seems to have been postponed until maybe October, and I also have a different book launch in Madrid in November, so it makes more sense to delay my cycle ride until then. But I don't want to stay in Swansea much longer, not without my girlfriend, so the obvious solution is to go travelling... But I don't want to blow all my savings before my Portugal/Spain trip. Decisions, decisions. I am at a loss what to do.

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