Another year over . . .
Christmas is a funny time of year for me. A love-hate sort of thing. I deeply resent it in early December because the impending festivities always seem to get in the way of my writing. The weather’s awful, my bank account is haemorrhaging money, and I accept invitations to parties that necessitate getting into proper smart clothes, catching a train to London, and which leave me with a word-blocking, day-losing hangover. Any yet, and yet . . .
My son, Robin, 7, drew me aside the other day and shared a “hilarious” secret. He knew some rude words, he said, to a Christmas carol. “Me and my friends at school,” he sniggered, “we just sing, While Shepherd’s washed their socks by night . . .” then he collapsed into giggles. I pretended I’d never heard this version before. But I was amused and, oddly, moved.
I sang “naughty” versions of carols when I was seven. I checked with my blind 85-year-old mother: she sang them too, back in the day. Maybe this is what Christmas is all about. Each new age group finding fresh joy in song and expectation, and in chuckling with friends: an endless progression of children, generation after generation, celebrating sock-washing shepherds.
So here it is – Merry Christmas – everybody’s having fun. And I am, too, at last. We had crackers with our family lunch today, first of the season, and wine and silly jokes. I have put down my pen (ie, locked my garden office) and I’m going to give myself over to the carefree spirit of Yuletide for a couple of weeks, and a little private reflection before the onslaught of 2020.
It hasn’t been a bad year, all in all. Three of my books have been published – Gates of Stone, my Asian fantasy, Blood’s Revolution (in paperback), and Blood’s Campaign (in hardback). I’ve finished writing a new Robin Hood novel (RH and the Caliph’s Gold) and I’m halfway thorough writing The Last Berserker, a Viking fantasy. It’s a decent amount of work for a year. Although January’s going to be a bitch – I have to finish Berserker by the end of the month, then work out how to self-publish The Caliph’s Gold.
But I’m not complaining. A new year beckons, with new challenges. Maybe I’ll even make some money in 2020. Who knows? Anything could happen.
In the meantime, I’m going to surrender myself to wine and turkey and mince pies with brandy butter, and bad cracker jokes, and family squabbles. And hangovers, long walks, too much TV, and everything else.
So here is is – Merry Christmas. And I wish everyone who has purchased one of my books, or shared a joke with me, or bought me a drink, or been a good pal in any way over this past twelve months, a truly splendid Noel, and a very Happy New Year!
Now, altogether, and with great gusto: “While Shepherds washed their socks by night, while seated on the loo . . . ”