I’ve always wanted to go to Northern Ireland. I find the accent sexy. Guys with a real Belfast accent – that clipped, fast, adenoidal and charmingly aggressive burr – gets my motor running. So it was no accident that I was taken to a city as aphrodisiac to rewrite and reproof Bastardography.
The Editor and I were hauled up in a small hotel room in the Cathedral Quarter to go through the contents of my life that I’d set down, over a year ago now, and rake through them once more to put not only commas and full-stops in the right places, but also add new anecdotes and observations (and delete old ones). We used the excellent proof-reader Patty Dohle’s (get her she’s worth her weight in gold) extensive notes and painstaking attention to detail to make a cohesive tome out of my e-book. For what purpose? Well the crusty little e-book is to become a paperback, with a new chapter and everything! Gosh and golly, can you contain yourself?
What was strange was to go over passages of the book that on writing I felt detached and able to cope with, but upon hearing back found distressing and close to the bone. How can this be? Answers on a postcard, amateur psychologists, please.
I sometimes have lofty notions that my little book will become a bible to the bohemian, such as memoirs of obscure and eccentric personalities have been to me, but that’s not telling us that the book has found its mark. How do you judge it as a success? To me, the fact the book is written, published and available on Amazon, is a huge success. I’ve never allowed myself to think or write those words down until now, because of all the bumph that came with its release (errors and arguments and such) but now I see it’s been a bit of a ride, really!
For all its flaws and faults, its done now – and it’s being redone and redone – I have to keep the faith if if it’s going to be in the purses of every truly original gentleman next spring!
But what are the motives of writing a book? Especially a personal one? It’s not money, as there’ll be no return for me (or my Editor) on this venture. Is it ego? Is it vanity? I don’t think so, because if I could think of a way to write something superficial, self-serving and popular I would, and this isn’t it! It’s a real book and an honest one. It’s a twenty-something gay guy from south London writing about his experiences, as ordinary and extraordinary as the next person’s. Taking in mental illness, sexuality, bullying and creativity, it’s funny, silly, dark, serious, naughty… and some other stuff too.
Simon’s book Bastardography is available to buy on amazon.co.uk now.