Well, this is a little victory in itself.
This book took a long time to get here.
I had the idea way back when I published The Soul of Adam Short, thinking about a YA novel set in Ireland, and the part of Ireland I know best is obviously South County Dublin and North Wicklow.
The problem of fires and farmers and the protection of nesting birds was something that started back then, and of course has kept going years later….
It merged with an idea I had when I was around 17….
The characters came separately, from a different inspiration.
It took a while to get the pen to paper, but my first typed document has a date of June 2015.
Then the first draft was done in 2018.
Yes. I can be 3 years on a book that’s only around 60k words!
I gave a copy of the third or fourth draft to my family – the younger ones – asking for feedback.
For a couple of years.
I got on with writing my long novel, Paul and the Pyramid Builders.
Then I asked my ex-publisher of Adam Short to have a look at it, and see if it was for the drawer.
She says it’s not.
So here it is. Edited and proof-read and ready for reviews.
Here’s the blurb….
Nicky and her two new friends, Mark and Ash, spend spring racing their mountain bikes through south Dublin – both down hillsides and hitching rides from HGVs – and exploring their feelings towards one another. They’re aghast to one day find an illegal fire on the mountain, just set by a farmer. When the police say they can do nothing about it, the three determine to catch the culprit red-handed. But life is as complicated as love, and as Nicky comes to terms with this, she discovers that sometimes you have to accept whatever little victories come your way.
It’s dedicated to my good friend Phil, no longer with us, who was a great man for the biking round south Dublin and Wicklow, though more on a road bike than mountain bike.
It’s on Pre Order now, and will be published before my birthday – Paddy’s Day to be exact.
March is when this novel kicks off, when the fires that beleaguer the Dublin and Wicklow mountains should be stopped rather than started.
Anyone who’s interested in a review copy can email me at email@example.com
Happy St. David’s Day, everyone.
Don’t forget, if you see a brush fire in Ireland from today, it’s illegal.
Stop, Watch, Go.
Crossing a bridge on my bike,
I glance down at the river
Slow blink, thinking I
Could just watch the water flow by,
Watch the world go by,
Let my time fly by
As I pause my life for a while,
But strife lets the suggestion
Just ride by.
On Your Bike, Jeremy Clarkson
I am delighted to read that Top Gear have dropped Jeremy Clarkson.
I know that Jeremy, deep down, as Russell Brand says of such people, is a beautiful soul, but is just misguided, yet I don’t think I could spend much time in the same room as the guy. Apart from his obviously reprehensible behaviour of late (and of not so late, as I talked about before)
, his program (and I say his because that’s the way most people consider it) is just not my cup of tea.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Jeremy.
But of course, it’s a revolving door. He’ll be back, grinning, on some other channel soon enough.
But it’s still a great day. An important day.
I’ll tell you.
But first, full disclosure: I am not a top gear fan.
I am also very happy that “fellow presenter James May has hinted that Clarkson, Richard Hammond and he “came as a package”.” I truly hope that it is indeed, the “end of an era.”
A better, brighter, more just less bigoted era might just replace it. One with fewer fucking cars, too, wouldn’t be half bad.
Aside from the fact that glorifying cars is not necessarily the best way to change society the way it needs to be changed, I just don’t see the draw/ appeal of a program talking about cars.
Cars are boring.
I mean, I have a car.
I need the car.
Not every day.
For most of my commuting, I have the lovely bike you see in the photo. It is proudly sporting the new 2015 membership sticker of WWF, my favourite charity helping keep some species from falling over the bring of the Sixth Extinction that climate change among other things (caused by cars among other things) is causing.
It’s a nice car. A Honda Civic.
But one of the things that galls me about Top Gear is the way they take the piss out of small cars with more fuel-efficient engines…
My daughter laughed the other day when she saw a Smart Car. “Look at the little car, Daddy. It’s funny.” she said. But she’s three. She knows nothing of energy conservation and traffic congestion. Grown men should know better.
Of course, grown men should also know not to be racist. Whether they are on the television before millions worldwide or not.
But getting back to cars being boring…
What most car enthusiasts don’t seem to understand is that cars are not cool.
Not even fast ones.
Only to other car geeks.
Yes, car enthusiasts are just another kind of geek.
And I can tell you, I know about geeks.
I write poetry, for god’s sake.
I have always loved reading and writing.
I used to keep budgies (that’s parakeets to you yanks.)
I used to show said birds in competitions.
Train spotting is no different to car spotting, really. The guys who think rockets are cool, and spacecraft, and astronomy, and comics, and science fiction movies, are more or less of the same ilk as those who bore me talking about how fast a car goes, how many cylinders it has, what the difference between horsepower and torque is…
I’d rather watch a gardening show. That’s my kind of geek.
Nevertheless, there are millions of car geeks. Who watch this programme.
So here’s why this is important news….
Over the last few weeks a lot of people said it would not happen.
But it fucking did…
And that’s important because the reason those people would have bet money on Clarkson getting away with it yet again is because the franchise was worth so much. Too much money involved. Can’t afford to lose the cash cow that is Top Gear and its syndication throughout the globe.
But the BBC, or whoever it is there who’s important enough to make these decisions decided that the money wasn’t as important as the moral right. Clarkson might make the BBC a load of dough, but sometimes money can’t justify things that we know are wrong – even though we see examples everyday.
So… if we can potentially lose money by doing the right thing in this instance, why not do the right thing in other instances?
The US could make lots of money from the Keystone Pipeline. But they don’t need it so bad they want to deal with the potential disaster of a leak, or the global climate change it will help intensify.
Fracking is a big source of revenue for states and towns, and the big powerful fossil fuel companies that do it, but having water we can drink without dying is more important.
Exxon Mobil and other such companies make billions in profits and hand over some of that to the politicians that grease the wheels. But reducing climate change is going to affect negatively millions more people than the few fat cats who will use their money to buy up real estate in Greenland while we all boil (or freeze in Europe, when the gulf stream stops).
There is no good reason we can’t do the right thing in these cases.
In some cases they already are. Because people clamoured for it.
We just need to keep clamouring.