Sunday, November 30, 2008

A book you should have bought a long time ago

Sunday was St. Andrew's Day in Scotland. According to my Scottish friends it's a day that means nothing up there but I tend to remember it because it was late on 30 November 2004 that I finished the first draft of my first novel. Four years later, still no one has ever read that novel but the date has sentimental value.

There are a handful of people in the wide world who at least have copies of that great never-read novel. Among them is Catrin Dafydd, who very strangely asked me to send her a copy a while back. I say strangely because Catrin appears to be the busiest person in Wales. The day after just about anything happens in this country, pictures of the event will make their way to random Facebook pages and there's Catrin in the midst of it all.

I'm not sure it's actually possible for her to be attending all these things. Perhaps she has employed someone to hack Facebook and Photoshop her into events.

Anyhoo, I mention Catrin because her novel, Random Deaths and Custard,is among the 50 listed as Books To Talk About according to Spread The Word. If you're the sort of person who loves registering for websites, you can do so here and then vote for hers as The Book To Talk About in 2009.

Or, you could just read her book anyway. Not being born and raised in the South Wales Valleys, I won't be so lame as to claim that is an authentic glimpse of life growing up in this area. Because I don't know. But it does a good job of grasping that strange swirl of stupid hope and constant defeat that exists not only here in Wales but everywhere.

As I am fond of saying of myself: I dream big and achieve little. It is a common affliction. Perhaps moreso in the age of reality television (or perhaps I am identifying an easy scapegoat). It can feel at times that overwhelming success is just right there, waiting for us. And as each consecutive unsuccessful day closes one is slowly overwhelmed by the weight of not being magnificent.

There is a certain skill in being able to address a topic while not really pointing a big spotlight at it and effectively saying: "See? See? See what I'm doing here?"

It's a skill I have yet to really develop (along with the makers of most American dramas). But Catrin manages it pretty well in her book -- in an entertaining and sometimes funny way. And to the extent that, if you're like me, you would read the whole thing in one day -- failing to attend her book launch in the process -- and really only get around to actually thinking about the thing quite a while after the fact.

1 comment:

Eric said...

How come your welsh blog has a picture of a grassy land pig/monster? What the f&#k is that? I don't get to know what that is because I no speakie the Welsh? This reeks of skulduggery.