Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Bad Mood Rising

A couple of sunny Saturdays ago, the Mrs and I caught up with some friends who we hadn't seen for a while.  The sun was out and we were heading for Syon Park for a picnic and this is usually the sort of thing that makes me happy; some good conversation with people I love, the chance to pig out on food, some booze and the sun warm on my skin.  The only problem was that I was in a funk.  Down days are rare for me (you only have to switch on the news to see get a sense of perspective) but when they come, they're hard to shake.  My usual solution is to be on my own.  That way I can skulk around feeling gloomy and I don't have to risk snapping at anyone and pissing them off too.  Not having this option as the four of us sat in a traffic jam trying to get out of town, I eventually started bitching.
The gist of it was that I didn't really feel like I was living.  Forty hours a week in an office with no natural light moving things around on a screen was doing nobody any good apart from the people who appreciated their TV guide coming out on a Saturday (I'm working on the picture desk at Weekend, the Saturday Mail supplement).  There had been a lot of sunny weather that week and while the blossoms were erupting to soften hard London streets and deliver their lovely scent over the usual smell of exhausts and rubbish, I was inside.  That wasn't living.  I'd been reading Tom Hodgkinson's 'How to be Free' at the time as well and I don't think that helped (though it's a great read).

Your friends have a habit of supporting you, or when necessary, telling you to stop being such a bloody miserable bastard.  In this case, my friend Ali reminded me of something that I'd said to her a couple of years previous when I started thinking about writing for a living. Somehow, the Costa Rica commission had come up in conversation.
'You what?' she said, incredulous, in her no-nonsense Manchester accent (she gets more Manc when she's being forthright about something).
'So, do you remember a couple of years ago when I asked you what kind of writing you wanted to do and you said to me that you'd like to be in the position where you were doing travel writing and that people were asking you to go to a certain country and write about it for them?'
She arched an eyebrow and didn't need to say more.  I got it: she was telling me that I wasn't doing too badly.  It did the trick.  I got over myself and all concerned were able to get on and enjoy the day.


In other news, the Texas travel piece finally got printed.  You can read it here.  I also got asked to start writing a blog for the Square Mile people which is here.  Lastly Pass Me On continues here.


  1. You're doing really well. Perhaps you need to think about finding a part-time gig and devote more time to touting and selling - the writing is the easy bit! (And you've got that nailed, by the way...)

  2. Take up a spot of jogging and a bit of yoga. That may help balance the natural chemicals inside of you.