Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Travel beard


Artist's impression.

There seems to be a consensus that personal hygiene and grooming go down the toilet (sometimes literally) when travelling, but not for me. I look after myself slightly better now than I ever bothered to when I had a proper job and people to impress. Slightly.

Since I left my squalid Scottish flat, I've even been shaving more than once a week. Until this month anyway - when I decided to temporarily grow a beard, now that I'm an author.

This isn't a cross-promotional tie-in with Movember, I think one crazy stunt per month is enough (I said stunt). But if I'm going to convince myself that I'm a proper writer, I might as well pretend I'm a proper man too.

The book isn't going very well (thanks for asking), mostly due to a heavy workload that means I'm less keen to spend my free time typing things for fun rather than money, which are thus of no value. Like the thing you're reading now. What's this for?

I was looking forward to writing a chapter towards the end that experiments with WUI (Writing Under the Influence), when the guy tries to tap into his alcohol-purged memories by getting himself into a precisely measured, comparable state of drunkenness. For authencity, I was planning to write the chapter pissed, and see what self-deprecating insanity or genius came out of it. But it already seemed pretty inadvisable even when I was in a country where they actually sold alcohol, so now I don't even have that to look forward to.

Maybe if I grow a beard, these obstacles will all go away. After all, writing is more about attitude than talent, or actually doing any work, right? Like punk? Yeah, maybe I can be the punk writer, and that's what people will call me. Except without all that unnecessary stuff in my face, and without all the shouting. Do punks have beards, or were beards one of the things that made them angry in the first place, like the Queen and prog? Maybe I can be the prog writer instead.

Maybe if I did have a drink problem, that would make me more like a writer too? It can't be just about the facial hair - where would that leave women writers like Natasha Gerson? At least I've learned I can type unintelligible shit while sober, so maybe I'll get this finished after all.

Edit: I shaved it off already. It looked rubbish.

Novel progress: 10,627 words (21%)

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