I think Michael Owen was in a bad mood for this interview, right from the start. I turned up late, and my joke about 'losing a yard of pace' didn't go down too well.
Here's what was said:
MO: So. Written the damn book yet?
What kind of question is that?
MO: The kind you answer, idiot. Answer it.
Well no, actually, I haven't written it. I haven't even done much more planning for it, either. But I can explain--
MO: Don't bother. You better have made up for it by reading about 200 books, and getting a Life Lesson from at least half of them...
Well, I read a couple of good ones last week, and I'm really enjoying Jasper Fforde's latest at the moment. I'm not sure how much I'm learning, exactly... I'm starting to ask the right questions, though. I'm nowhere near answering them, yet, but I'm doing OK at asking them.
MO: Are you trying to take over my Question Asking Job?
Michael... I invented you. Why would I have done that if I wanted to ask the questions myself?
MO: Maybe you're jealous. God invent humans, then got so jealous of them he eventually turned himself into one. It's the same thing, right?
I can honestly say you have proved why you are the Question Asking professional here, with that one.
MO: Well, as long as that's clear. What's your excuse then? Why no book?
Social things, is what it comes down to. I visited a friend in Sheffield this weekend, seeing Norwich beat Huddersfield ('lets all have a disco!'), eating a fry-up, and walking in the woods in the process. Then Monday, I went for a steak with another friend, which turned into a general wander through charity shops and guitar places. Add on to that, four days in work... that's pretty much my week.
Which raises an interesting issue, I think. Are social things anti-TYSIC? The argument in favour is a simple one. Most of my TYSICs involve spending a lot of time doing things on my own. Time spent with people is time away from what I should be doing. It's not a nice thought, and, thankfully, I'm pretty sure it's a wrong one. Here's why:
A big strand of my main TYSIC is to become a better writer. That's Phase 1 of TYSIC 1: Get Published. Getting better involves a huge amount of practice, planning, writing and editing. But it also involves living, observing, laughing, and getting angry, upset and moved by things. Otherwise, where's the heart?
Let me put that another way. Someone far more intelligent than me once said something along the lines of, 'you should not sit down to write before you have stood up to live'. I can't remember who said it, and I have got the wording all wrong, but I think that was the gist.
Example. Some of the fruits of my social bizzle are travelling plans. I am now well on my way to some low-budget European travel this June, probably including a week of cycling round Denmark, and 5 or 6 days at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. It's a lot of time spent away from writing, but I think I can justify that within my TYSIC scheme, under the newly adopted Stand Up/Sit Down Principle.
Whether I can justify the money is another question. I could afford it, if there wasn't something else. But there is something else... something I'm planning that will drain my finances hugely. It is big, TYSIC, and scary. I won't say more now, but I may blog about it in the future.
So, Michael, I hope you can see that my week hasn't been a complete waste, TYSICly. Not only have I been Standing Up, I have been laying plans for some higher level Standing Up in the future, as well as concoctign a Big Secret TYSIC Plan that I'm not yet telling you about.
MO: Oh, go on, tell me. What is it??