What a weird experience. This weekend I visited Window To The Womb (henceforth abbreviated to W2TW), a 3D baby scanning centre of excellence. I don’t know. Before you worry that I’ve somehow become the living embodiment of Schwarzenegger’s character in Junior, I can confirm that I do not have a bun in the oven.
The first thing I should probably announce is that I’m going to be an uncle. My brother and his fiance are expecting a tiny little baby which is due in February. It’s due two days after my birthday which is just typical of him, trying to show me up when I’m trying to make everything about me.
The first thing to note about W2TW is that it is full of kids and expectant parents and family and then me. I didn’t think that I would care in any real way, shape or form but it was actually quite moving. They give you the standard ultrasound business but they’re then able to triangulate the… something… I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. They’re then able to show you in 3D on a screen what the baby looks like. It looks a bit like a sepia Voldemort obviously but ahhhhh, it was right nice. It’s given me the feelies.
I don’t know if I ever want a kid. I’m too selfish. My brother’s fiance has a little boy who I get along with really well because he’s fucking hilarious. He can be so naughty. He was laying on his front on the floor, screaming and punching stuff. He had to be subdued with a sausage roll and sent outside. There was a bit of me that thought why haven’t I got a sausage roll? Why aren’t I kicking off? I’ve been here for twenty minutes and nobody has asked about my hernia.
There were all these parents-to-be having to put up with him throwing his temper around the waiting room and they’re thinking “fuck, this is what we have let ourselves in for.”
I have to admit, when that screen showed me a tiny version of the future I thought of the creepy baby in space from 2001: A Space Odyssey and then I brought myself back into the room and a tiny bit of emotion collected at the corner of my eye in the form of a tear and I brushed it away before anyone could think I was not a robot.
That’s the number of words I have written this month. It’s probably more. I’ve sent a lot of text messages.
63,630 is my word count for National Novel Writing Month 2016. I’m calling it. It will now be some time before I can look at that book again but I am excited about it and pleased with what I have been able to do in just nineteen days.
I’m now suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury in both wrists and need to just sit and read something completely different to my own work.
Good luck to everyone else still writing.
Five years ago today I tragically lost a very good friend. How strange that time has been.
I often find myself thinking of him, wondering what he would make of the world as it is today.
There is no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t have been happy with the ending of Peep Show or the way things have changed at work, or in the wider world, but I hope that in some way I am carrying the torch for him. Losing a friend when they are just twenty-seven years old is fucking gutting. Realising that you have passed the age they will always be is a weird thing to comprehend. All of us are changing so much. We are having kids and getting ourselves wrapped up in mortgages. The jobs we had for a laugh so we could spend our Friday and Saturday nights pissing it up the wall are slowly turning into careers and we are losing sight of those teenage daydreams and becoming functioning adults who talk about politics and cavity wall insulation.
There will always be a little part of whatever I get myself wrapped up in that will be intrinsically linked to what he would have made of it and that cannot be helped. I’m glad of it in fact. In many ways I think we are pushed to perform and to achieve because life really is too fucking short. I miss Danny every day. I see him in the faces of strangers. I hear him at the end of corridors that I can’t get far enough down in time. His influence echoes in the best possible way.
As a result of knowing him I have so many friends. I will always be thankful to him for that. I will always be thankful to them for sticking around. He had an ability to throw people together and expect them to stick, and for the most part, it had to work.
At his funeral, Sam read from Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Danny’s favourite contemporary book. I would like to paraphrase from it here:
“I was suddenly very aware of the fact it was me standing up in that tunnel with the wind over my face. Not caring if I saw downtown. Not even thinking about it. Because I was standing in the tunnel. And I was really there. And that was enough to make me feel infinite.”
Please look after yourselves and cultivate relationships with those you truly care about. You never know when that time could be over and it will always be too soon.
They say the first cut is the deepest. By they, I mean animal-print-clad pork swordsman Rod Stewart. I can’t account for that. I suppose it’s possible the first cut could be like a tester and then they could really take the plunge. Initially see how malleable the flesh is, then go up to the hilt.
Where was I? Oh yes, National Novel Writing Month.
This year is my fifth go at NaNoWriMo, a personal challenge of the highest order where participants seek to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days.
How could someone possibly do that? you cry.
Well, it breaks down to 1,667 words a day. Piece of piss.
No, literally, how could someone do that?
Also a good question. It turns out that you have to give up an awful lot in order to keep the writing wolf from the door, or invite him in and eat him, I’m lost in metaphors this week. Yesterday I didn’t leave my flat. I stayed in and clocked up over six thousand words, taking breaks to watch Parks & Recs, my latest addiction in between. I probably could have written more but one of my hands went numb, my eyes were streaming and I had a friend over for chilli and cuddles.
Yesterday I managed to hit 20,000 words. I’m immensely proud of having already made it to this point. I would be prouder if I hadn’t learned that someone in the group finished NaNoWriMo in three days. But it’s not a competition and we are all winners just for taking part.
So keep on trucking. You’re doing great. Weekends are good for catching up if you’re fortunate enough to not have to work. If you do have to work then write notes for yourself through the course of the day or dictate the next chapter to yourself. It can help to access that conversational part of your brain that equates so well to storytelling.
So that’s it, I’m 20k in, but I’m not over the hump yet. Even with the halfway point in sight and possible today I’m already assuming I’ll write around 75k.