Turning 40, Vegas, Christmas and the best teacher ever

A lot’s happened in the last month. For a start, I’ve turned the big four-ohhhhhhhh, much to the amusement of my friends. Then I went to Las Vegas to celebrate heavily and sleep lightly, before returning and enjoying the Christmas and New Year festivities. Soon after, I set about editing my book and applying for jobs. In between, I mourned the passing of my favourite teacher.


Happy birthday, happy birthday

Turning 40 wasn’t too bad. It was, of course, inevitable and something that I’d constantly been reminded of would happen for about the last two years now. I’m not sure whether I have had my mid-life crisis or whether it is to come, but I guess leaving my job and writing a novel, plus throwing myself off tall buildings and partying until 6am with people half my age are signs.

My actual birthday was excellent. Shell’s present was a hand-made DVD in a box within many other boxes around it. When played, it not only surprised me with details of tickets for the Grand National, Michael McIntyre tour and Segway racing, but also Kylie Minogue sang me happy birthday. Ok, she didn’t actually say my name, but I’m sure it was solely for me.
The rest of the day was spent celebrating with mine and Shell’s family, and it was great to see everyone.


What goes on in Vegas…

Vegas was…well Vegas! They say a picture paints a thousand words, so if you can, check out all the photos on Facebook for the whole story. I survived six nights on very little sleep and lots of food and vodka, plus jumped off the Stratosphere for good measure, as you can see to the left.


Christmas came and went in a blur as usual. Not a drunken blur, mind – it just goes so fast when you’re older, don’t you think? We spent our time with each family over several days, nice and relaxed with great food and presents. I even played my first game of Shove Ha’penny and a strange game called “Tip it”. I think the Powell family are hoping that the latter will be a late entry into the Olympics.


Back to work

After Christmas it was back to reality, whatever that means to me nowadays. After a break of over a month (as recommended), I’ve gone back to my novel’s first draft and have started editing it. Trouble is, I’m finding it not exactly straight forward, for the following reasons:

  1. I’ve got out of the habit of working on it every day.
  2. It’s not like writing in the sense of having a goal of a set number of words to do. How do I know I’ve done enough today?
  3. I’m not entirely sure where to start or how to edit it all. Different people say different things. Some say it could take a couple of months, others a year. One writer said he did about ten drafts and wouldn’t let anyone see if before at least draft six.

I’m struggling for discipline and distractions right now and if I’m honest doing everything I can before I sit down and edit it. There’s always something else to do, even with a lot of time on my hands. But I’ll work it out – I want to and I have to. There’s no point in me doing all the hard work to get to first draft and not seeing it through. Shape up Andy – you’re gonna make 2012 happen…and the hard work won’t do itself.

Job-wise, I’m in the hunt again. I’ve been keeping my eye on things for a while but have just started applying to jobs these last few weeks. It’s about time I got out there again and I’m looking forward to a new challenge. Sure, the book thing will continue, but I’m happy to do what most writers have to do, i.e. do it in their spare time. So, if any employer out there is reading this and has a need for a fantastic software Development Manager or similar, then please contact me via this website. Give me a department, project or product and I’ll deliver the results. Plus I can run a mean sweepstake.


4D vision

My final section is on the sad passing of my favourite teacher, Mr Deakin. He was our form tutor in our final year of juniors, class 4D, and not only gave us a good education but plenty of memories, too. He believed in us, and gave us a great start in life, going up to the scary world of senior school.
I always remember that he liked my stories, so I dug out my old report with his comments:

When I considered starting writing again a few years ago, it was partly due to thoughts of these comments that reminded me that I used to write some good stuff as a kid and that maybe I could do it again.

All I can say is that I’ll try and do him proud.



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