8 Things That Happen To You When You Become An Author…

Writer blogpost

I have been writing novels for nearly 2 years now. I never studied it or had any interest in it AT ALL when I was a child. I never even considered going to University, thinking I would never need it if I wanted to run my own pub or hotel. One day I kind of fell into writing and I finally found what I was gifted at, completely by accident! Now when I talk to fellow writers and tell them I spit out books for fun they tend to be baffled that I had zero interest in it before. However over the last year or so I have noticed myself slowly change as a person. This is my take on what happens once you become a writer. Hopefully some of you fellow writers can relate to some of these…

1: You forget how to have a normal conversation…

There could be many reasons for this, the most likely one is because you spend your time in solitude writing all day. You are used to typing away and thinking instead of talking out loud. Because of this you get used to slowing your thought process down because you can’t type as quickly as your mind darts off coming up with new ideas to write, then you’ve forgotten the perfect wording you were going to use to describe the sentence once you catch up. Soon you can’t think as quickly as you used to and you are awkwardly staring at someone looking for some kind of inspiration to say something clever back, but you are too busy trying to absorb what that person said to you and trying to think of the right wording. By the time you have the moment’s gone…

2: And when you do, you sound like a pretentious dick…

Or you’re nailing the conversation just like old times, or so you think; I used to be a bar manager back in England so I spent the majority of my time talking to the average person and having a full command of the English language. Now I tend to talk how I write, and use words that most people don’t use in everyday conversation. I don’t mean to, i just throw a few words into the conversation which immediately kills the vibe, and then try and remember what it was like to have a conversation with someone that flowed nice and easily… (although I could attribute this to living in a non-English speaking country for so long…)

3: Sometimes you even talk AT someone for ages…

There have been times where I’d go to the tourist area of Chiang Mai and let off some steam after suffering from writer’s block. Whether it was to play some pool, cycle around the city or meet some old friends, whatever I had to do to clear my head before writing again. Sometimes you meet someone who’s travelling through and you get so excited to see another human being. If the conversation is flowing and you are not feeling anxious in any way about throwing out an obscure word, you start freestyling like Busta Rhymes because you are so happy to be communicating with someone, only they are looking at you in complete panic, wishing they never asked you about your life story…

4: When someone asks about your book(s) you start to freak out…

The question, “What is your book about?” used to be my favourite thing to hear. I would passionately and proudly talk about my book like it was my own child. I could feel the energy in the room as people began to get interested to read my work. One year later you get bored of repeating yourself; so you either sound disinterested whilst describing your own book or you begin to stutter because you are running out of ways to describe the book in a way that can keep your interest as well as the person who asked the question’s…

5: You are hyper aware that you may be self-promoting yourself completely unprovoked…

This may be a ‘me’ thing, but I hate to self-promote myself. I don’t want to be ‘that guy’ who talks about his books every other sentence until people don’t want to hang out with him anymore. I imagine it being the other way around and I know that I would roll my eyes if anyone tried to self-promote their product in front of me, even if it was something really good. So as soon as I say the words, “I’m an author…” I immediately feel anxious to change the conversation since I feel like I’m trying to do a sales pitch, and that is absolutely not me. It’s a good job I don’t work in sales and marketing…

6: You can never explain what your books are about…

This is your brainchild. But not just any brainchild; this particular piece of work usually takes months, sometimes years to complete. Because of this it would be fair to say that most books are incredibly deep and complex. They may have a simple plot to follow, but it’s not as if you can say, “4 hours later it all worked itself out. THE END!!”. Everything has to connect, and it has to make sense when it connects otherwise the reader will get frustrated and lose interest pretty quickly. So when someone asks about the book you feel compelled to explain certain things in unnecessary detail because you worry it won’t make sense if you don’t, overwhelming the person who asked the question in the process.

7: Sometimes you stutter because you don’t want to give any plot twists…

There’s nothing I love more than to talk about my books, 2 months ago one of friends read my sixth book ‘The Pornstar’ and you have NO IDEA how amazing it felt to talk about certain scenes with passion, and what my thought process was while I was writing it. These books have been my life for nearly two years now so when I can talk about them I light up and feel a kind of confidence and energy I haven’t felt in a long time. Unfortunately when you are talking to someone who is either halfway through the book or hasn’t read it, you keep stopping half way through the sentence because you wonder whether you are going to spoil the experience for the reader or not. As a consequence you tend to talk about the book as vaguely as possible, killing any interest the person had in reading your work…

8: You forget what happens in your books, even though you wrote the bloody thing!

Writing a book is hard, fucking hard! On top of that it is mentally draining. So at first you don’t have a problem talking about characters and scenes, but after a while (especially when you write more than 1 book) the characters names, traits and what they do get intertwined, and you forget what happens, or who is supposed to say or do what. This has also expanded into my everyday life. I used to have an incredible memory, a barman’s memory if you will, now I can barely remember what someone said to me ten minutes ago, and I have to attribute that to pushing my brain too hard and I think it is nature’s way of saying I need a rest from writing.

Overall I would definitely say I am a lot less confident socially than I was before I began writing, this is probably because I spend the majority of my time typing silently instead of talking like a normal person. However I wouldn’t change it for the world, and although I know my brain needs to rest up some more before I begin my seventh book, I can’t wait to get started!

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Teaching in Lampang with ‘The Henderson’

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Last Wednesday I was staring at my computer doing nothing. I can neither confirm nor deny whether I was wasting yet another hour on Facebook or not when ‘The Henderson’ rang me up out of the blue. I get on well with ‘The Henderson’ and consider him a friend, but we aren’t on a ‘calleachotherupfornofuckingreason’ level yet, so I was surprised to see his name pop up on my phone. I answered it and after the pleasantries he asked if I wanted to work with him in a town 2 hours away called Lampang at the weekend. After contemplating whether I should cancel my soul destroying weekend class at my regular school, I finally said that I would throw caution to the wind and give it a go. After all; I’m leaving soon, so what’s the worst that could happen?…

Our boss whose name was ‘Lek’ picked us up on the Friday and drove us to Lampang. When we got there we were treated like bosses. With meals fit for a king and accommodation that most people (well, people that like to travel anyway…) could only dream of.

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After preparing for the class until 1AM (I use that term loosely; in fact we were simply photocopying vast amounts of paper whilst getting drunk…) we eventually staggered into our rooms. I thought to myself that this was too good to be true. I have detested teaching for well over a year now, so I knew that these students are going to almost instantly irritate me for the whole weekend. When I woke up at 8 in the morning I wasn’t looking forward to our class…

Turns out the students were amazing too! I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed teaching but this was definitely a fun class to teach. Their level wasn’t that high; but they wanted to learn and were appreciative of the opportunity they were given, which is all any teacher could ask for really.

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Then after the class on Saturday Lek took me and ‘The Henderson’ up to Chaeson National Park. Apart from being gorgeous like most national parks, this one specifically had a water feature running through it. Lek described it as a ‘waterfall’ but it was more of a stream of hot water running through the rocks.

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The water had sulphur dioxide in it. At least that’s what Lek told us. I didn’t know what that meant so I smiled and said “Kap…” Basically the water was approximately 82 degree celsius, and one of the common things to do was to boil a basket of eggs in the water. Point being we had a lot of egg based food that night, and I personally got given 15 soft boiled eggs as a present to take home with me…

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The weekend went by very quickly, and to be honest I was gutted it was over so fast. I loved teaching those people and felt lucky to have met them. When I got back to Chiang Mai I felt far happier than I would have if I spent yet another spirit crushing weekend at my normal school.

To wrap up I would like to say thank you to ‘The Henderson’ for setting me up with this job, and a massive thank you to Lek for single-handedly restoring my faith in bosses over here, and my love of teaching. If I never did this class I probably would have left Thailand quite a bitter man stating that ‘I hated teaching’ and ‘would never go back to it’. Now I know it was just the environment that I had been in for such a prolonged period of time. Now I feel that if I did get offered a teaching job on my travels, I wouldn’t roll my eyes and say ‘never again’, I would smile, say ‘Why not?’ and hopefully get some extra cash in my pocket so I can continue to write my books.

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Lek looking satisfied after the three of us annihilated a traditional Lanna (Northern Thai) meal…

2 Days of Lukas and a ‘Roh’ cameo…

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Erm… What?

Being a teacher in Asia for so long, you meet people who then go back to their own country. Then said people come back because they miss certain parts of the country they lived in. I know, I’m feeling a bit of nostalgia towards Italy now, especially since I know i’m heading towards that direction soon. Anyway, so Lukas came back to Thailand and asked if anyone was about. I wanted to hide from him because I secretly don’t like him, but he cornered me and asked if I wanted to go out with him. I had a choice; either tell him that the pure sight of him makes me want to shit on my hand and wipe it over his face, or smile, say ‘Kap…’ and go out with him. I chose the latter…

Oh… NO, NUMBNUTS! I meant what’s a Roh cameo?

Oh… Well, it’s a cameo, from Roh…

Great!… Question 2: Who is Roh?

Roh is a teacher who has lived here as long as I have. His full name is ‘Rogelio’ which I think is a perfect name for an R’n’B star. He actually raps in his spare time and I think has released a couple of songs. I don’t know if he uses that as his rap name but if he changes it I want royalties…

Make your own royalties loser! Like from your books!

Speaking of which I feel I’m ready to write my seventh book. I’m not rushing anything but I’m itching to get going. I’m going to be sensible and rest my brain at least until I start travelling. I don’t want a repeat of last time and being so tired that I literally couldn’t hear people…

I stopped reading when you said ‘seventh book’..

Well, I’m hoping to publish my fourth one on Amazon at the end of this month. My sister came up with the name; it’s going to be called ‘Talk To Me’ and is about a guy who is painfully shy around girls, and forces himself to talk to a girl for at least five minutes every day for a month. It normally goes horrendously bad, but it leads to some pretty interesting and sometimes hilarious situations. Click here if you want to learn more about it, including reading the first few paragraphs for free before it has even been published…

Spammer…

Well if no one knows about it they can’t read it and enjoy it can they? As long as you know you are pushing a good product you shouldn’t feel guilty to guide the masses towards it. That’s what Niall, a friend of mine always says anyway…

So… This is going to be pointless links from now on isn’t it?

OK, I get the hint; I’ll stop.

Good. Get back to The Lukas and Roh story!

Oh yeah I completely forgot about that! So, I met up with Lukas and after playing a few games of pool me, him and a couple of his Thai friends went bowling together. Lukas and his girl were called ‘Team Winning’ and me and the other girl were called ‘Team Bean’ (Her name was Pean, but I thought she said ‘Bean’, so I proceeded to call her ‘Bean’ all the time. I only found out when she wrote ‘Pean’ as her name on the screen at bowling…

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Team Bean Vs. Team Winning

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Lukas was getting more strikes than a London underground tube station, whereas I was steadily getting the spares. On my last go I held my nerve and got a strike, followed by a spare, meaning that collectively we won 201 points to 182. GO TEAM BEAN!!! Er, I mean Pean…

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The next night we went to a bar called ‘Sangdee’ where Roh likes to rap and everyone watches him rap saying ‘I could do better…’ before shitting themselves when they realize that it’s an open mic policy and one of the other rappers hands a microphone to them…

Roh was on form. At one point even Lukas showed us that he could spit a few bars. The others then assumed that by association I could rap too. Handing me the microphone saying ‘Your turn…’ I recoiled in horror saying I’d never done it before. Roh and Lukas then told them ‘Nah… He’s a writer, he’ll be good at it.’

“Thanks fuckers…”

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From left to right: Roh, Me, and Lukas

I reiterated that I had no idea what I was doing, thinking that by their logic James Patterson would run rings around Eminem in a rap battle. In the end they stopped persisting, I’m not going to lie I was VERY relieved,…

Cool story bro…

Ta muchly;

And that’s it! I’ve literally just got back from teaching a weekend in Lampang, which I will write a blog post about soon. Other than that I’m done! I’ll see ya when I see ya…

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A pic of Roh and Lukas, where I forgot to put the flash on…

Everton Vs. Watford at an Everton fan’s house

Last Saturday was the kick off of the new football season. Normally I’m a little bit excited but this time my football team, Watford, are in the Premier League for the first time in 9 years. My friend Martin (as previously mentioned in my post about the dodgy Karaoke place) invited me round his house to watch the game. He is an Everton fan so it seemed right to go over there and enjoy myself.

We had a good chat about nothing in particular as he started up the barbeque. At first we were watching the Manchester United-Tottenham game which was an early kick off. However although it started off as an exciting game, once United had scored we slowly lost interest and began focusing on the manly task of cooking meat on a portable barbeque that had been bought from the local DIY retail chain…

Then we destroyed the meat like savages. Being English we don’t really know the etiquette of eating food like the Italians do; we do not savour, we barely even chew…

Then it was time for the game. these were the starting lineups:

Everton:

GK Howard DEF Coleman DEF Stones DEF Jagielka DEF Galloway MID McCarthy MID Barry MID Mirallas MID Barkley MID Cleverley ATT Lukaku

SUBS: Don’t care, as they are not Watford…

Watford (The team that matter…):

GK Gomes DEF Nyom DEF Prodl DEF Cathcart DEF Holebas MID Behrami MID Anya MID Capoue MID Anya MID Layun ATT Deeney

SUBS: Gilmartin, Pudil, Angella, Parades, Watson, Vydra, Ighalo

Both teams opted for the 4-5-1 formation with wingers doubling up as attackers. Watford also had 5 debutantes playing which could have spelled disaster for us if they didn’t gel as a team. I personally would have put Ighalo up front instead of Deeney, who had a cracking second half of the season last season. Then again, there’s a reason I’m not the manager of Watford earning a possible seven figures a year…

The First Half:

Watford started lively. Martin was already declaring how shit Everton were, but in truth Watford were playing fluent, majestic football which contradicted the fact that they were underdogs. However it was Martin’s house, so I nodded and stayed quiet secretly hoping for a ten nil drubbing!

About ten minutes in I received a phone from a teacher I know here called Alex. I wanted to ignore the call since Watford were playing one or two touch football what was making one of only two teams who have never been relegated from the top flight chasing shadows. (three if you include newly promoted Bournemouth, but that is only because this is their first ever season in the top flight). Anyway, so I answered the call and ran outside as to not distract Martin from his self loathing and loathing of Everton. Whilst keeping one eye on the game I half heartedly listened to Alex…

Alex was talking about something that may have been important later on in life, but Watford had floated the ball into the box. “Something’s happening here!” I thought to myself. Then the ball sat up nicely for Layun, the Mexican international. Who shouted “ARIBA!” Before spanking the ball in the net!

“HOLD ON, WATFORD HAVE JUST SCORED!” I shouted down the phone to Alex who was in mid-sentence. I then ran into the house singing “Goal goal, get a goal WE GOTTA GOAL!” To the tune of “I get around” in front of Martin who had crossed his arms like a child, declaring that Everton were all over the place.

I quickly wrapped up the call with Alex and watched the rest of the first half. Everton to their credit had far more possession, but we looked a much more attacking threat.

Shortly before half time Deeney got over-excited trying to poke the ball in the net in a goal mouth scramble, doing a double footed challenge in the process. “He’s off!” I exclaimed nervously to Martin, only for me and the entire Watford universe to breathe a huge sigh of relief when the card was only yellow…

Second Half:

We ate the leftovers of the food like drunk people at four in the morning before settling down to watch the game again. Everton had us on the back foot from the get go which livened up Martin. I sat there quietly sipping my coke, knowing that we were probably going to have to hang on if we wanted the three points.

At one point the stats in the top left corner stated that Everton had 80% possession. “Who the fuck are we playing, a team from Liverpool or Barcelona circa 2013?” I thought to myself. Eventually Everton’s perseverance paid off, when Ross Barkley hit a rocket into the top right corner, leaving Gomes (who was having a blinder) no chance.

“YES! COME ON!” Martin screamed. I politely said “Good goal” while angrily staring at my half full glass of coke. However this livened up Watford. (The Goal, not me staring angrily at a drink…) and we soon had an end to end game.

Ighalo (Who had come on as a substitute 10 minutes beforehand) then got the ball about 30 yards out. He ran casually for a while before selling Stones a dummy. “Go on son…” I muttered. He then sold another dummy to send Jagielka flying in no particular direction. “GO ON SON!” I shouted, getting louder and unable to breathe. Then he calmly slotted it into the bottom corner, causing me to run around the house and slide across Martin’s wooden floor in my socks. I shouted to him that I’d forgotten the song I was going to sing before quickly remembering and chanting: “GOAL goal goal goal, GOAL, GOOAL. WHY’D YOU HAVE TO GO-OAL? AWAY FROM HOME?” To the tune of Sean Kingston’s ‘Me love’.

Everton weren’t finished yet though and after an admittedly good set play they drew our players out of position and Kone cut a superb shot across Gomes to snatch an equalizer. I died a little inside and Martin began to cheer. The match then went back and forth until ending in a 2-2 result.

FINAL SCORE: Everton 2 Watford 2

A draw was a fair result in the end, and a good start to the season. Everton have become a seriously good team over recent years, and a draw away from home was a fantastic result to start off with. I feel optimistic for the rest of the season and know that we have hit the ground running. Hopefully we can do a Stoke or a Swansea and deservedly make this league our home, and not a Portsmouth, a Wigan or a Blackpool and fall down the leagues…

Two trailer park girls go round the outside, round the outside, ROUND THE OUTSIDE!!!

Yesterday my friend Martin texted me to ask if I wanted to go for a drink with him later on that night. I didn’t fancy going out probably due to the fact I’m hyper aware of how much money I have been spending recently, but I also hadn’t seen Martin in a long time and I didn’t really have a real reason to say no other than that, so I bit my lip and said I’d be happy to. Thinking that I would catch up with him for an hour or so and then head back home.

Not in Thailand I’m afraid…

We met up at a local bar and I met a guy called David from Arizona (His full name wasn’t ‘David Fromarizona’, don’t worry,..) and a bloke I had met roughly a year ago called Brian, who was very supportive of my writing when I first started so when I saw him again I was glad to see him.

After the pleasantries and awkward introductions a paralytic Thai guy stood up and said he would drive us to the next location. I’d met this guy before so he was friendly enough, and I knew that if he crashed we would be relatively safe in the back of his song tao (red truck) anyway.

We then went to the second bar. it was uneventful other than the fact the music was far too loud for any of us to have a conversation (I’m know I’m getting old when I say things like that!) so we quickly finished our drinks and headed to the next place…a karaoke bar…

This was one of those dodgy karaoke bars where there are girls sitting outside with hardly any clothes on, and most people feel nervous just driving past the place! The five of us (Including the driver) were standing there uncomfortably hoping we weren’t going to get robbed.

We were told that a girl was 200 baht for an hour (£4) and she would sit on your lap as you did your thing on the karaoke. I was still VERY uncomfortable with the whole situation so I didn’t pick a girl. I concluded that if I watched the others and they were having a blast, then I would run back outside, grab a girl and join in on the fun, but in truth I was looking for a reason not to, and when I noticed that none of the girls were looking at us, that was the perfect excuse to say I didn’t fancy one…

We were led into this room which can only be described as what I would imagine a VIP room would look like in a club in London. There was a ‘U’ shaped sofa big enough to fit 10 or 12 people on, and a huge TV on the wall. The only difference being that the TV was attached to a karaoke machine that blared out Thai and Korean songs, and only the most obscure English ones…

We had the room for an hour, and I have to admit; it was one of the most bizarre experiences in my life! The girls were clearly not interested in any of us so I thought to myself that it was a wise idea not to get one. And nobody, not even the girls, wanted to sing. So we spent the first 45 minutes mumbling through a few songs that no one knew, and anxiety was creeping in for the lot of us.

Then this Thai TV hip-hop dance channel randomly came on the screen. Some scantily clad Thai girls were gyrating to a sped up version of ‘Move bitch!’ by Ludacris. I grabbed the microphone and started rapping the song. One of the girls looked at me as if to say she was impressed, and then whacked on another song that no one had heard of…

The difference being that this song had a quick R’n’B beat to it. So for no reason whatsoever I rapped the entire song ‘Without Me’ by Eminem to the beat. I hadn’t heard this song in well over five years, so I was shocked at the fact I remembered over 90% of the words. A quarter of the way through.David joined in and we had a whale of a time. Not the whales from The Faroe Islands and Japan though, that would never be fun…

After this the girls perked up. They were singing songs themselves and rubbing themselves all over the guys. I even convinced one of the girls using my impressive Thai skills to sit on the Thai guy’s lap, who was far too shy to ask himself. We bumped fists and I waved my arms like a bird, squawked and shouted “WINGMAN!!!!”

Then it was on to Loi Kroh, or ‘Hooker road’ as I like to call it. We found a place to play pool and had some fun. Also anyone who was been to Thailand would know that if you ever took Jeremy Kyle’s lie detector, it’s impossible to pass the ‘sexual contact’ question if you go to any Hooker road, because girls will literally grab your junk unprovoked. Which I can only guess is to try and attract a potential client. The evening ended with me having to walk past a load of what can only be described as ‘men in dresses’ asking me if I wanted an oil massage as I walked past them to get to my bicycle so I could cycle home.

Crazy night, but not unusual in this country. I’m not going to lie, I will miss these bizarre nights out when I leave. Hopefully I’ll have a lot more stories to tell when I start travelling again…