– I’m about a third of the way into a novel, with the working title ‘Juliet, Naked’.
– I’m editing, with Eli Horowitz, a ‘Best of McSweeneys’ book for Hamish Hamilton, publication some time next spring, I think. (This is a lovely job – I’m discovering great young writers I’d never heard of several times a day at the moment.)
– I’m adapting ‘Slam’, for DNA Films
– A friend and I are still messing around with a radio comedy, although the messing around at this stage consists mostly of trying to persuade the BBC that it’s funny. Or comprehensible. Or something.
– I’m working with Airside Studios on an idea for an animated film.
– Cindy Chupack, the screenwriter on the project, has just delivered a third and hopefully green light-triggering draft of ‘How To Be Good’.
– There’s not much happening with ‘A Long Way Down’.
– ‘Slam’ – see above. That’s ‘above’ in the ‘work update’ bit, as opposed to ‘There’s not much happening’. There isn’t much happening, but that’s entirely my fault.
– ‘An Education’ is in the final stages of editing.
A couple of years ago, two Americans came to my office with a thousand blank book pages for me to sign. They occasionally made chapbooks, beautifully-designed and printed pamphlets that interest collectors, and they wanted to make one from the Thunder Road chapter of 31 Songs/Songbook. They were going to print and sell a thousand exquisite Thunder Road chapbooks, and give the profits to TreeHouse. So I sat there and signed a thousand pages, and they went home with them, and that was pretty much the last I heard from them until last week, when one of them finally conceded in an email that the project had ended in disaster. The two friends are now no longer speaking to each other – there may even have been an actual fist-fight – and the best guess for the pages is that they are lying in a warehouse in Arizona somewhere.
If they’d torn the pages up in front of my eyes a couple of minutes after I’d signed them all, I would have been pretty irritated. But those guys had a plan, and they came to me in good faith, and now the story just serves as a useful metaphor for the sort of thing that happens frequently in my profession. People have ideas that don’t work out, and to refuse to engage with any of them on the grounds that they might turn out to be a total waste of time is to miss the point, and usually quite a lot of fun as well. I’d say that in the above list, only the two books and ‘An Education’ have better than even chances of seeing the light of day, but that doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worth doing, or caring about.