First up, a rare attempt at clarity. I feel like I should say that when I started off my first blog on Monday like this —
Ahhh blogging, that fantastic digital mash-up of random thoughts, half-baked product placement, free stuff and alcohol-induced slander.
— I was talking about how I approach my own blog writing (or, more accurately, how my own blogs always seem to turn out!), I was speaking about myself, not passing judgement on anyone else!
As anyone who keeps an eye on my MySpace page knows, I've been happily blogging away there for the past 6 months and my blogs on the whole are pretty much as advertised above (with the exemption of the slander, which is something I'm still working my way up to.).
So sorry for any confusion, and a special sorry to the nice folks at babygotbooks.com who despite taking those comments to heart a little bit, still gave my book a very decent plug. Thanks guys, I have a kitten blood special edition here on my desk waiting for you if you want it. Give me a shout :)
So — I made my train yesterday, with all the usual last minute rushing about and panic. The train got about halfway to Manchester, stopped at some signals and decided not to start again for about 20 minutes, which didn't help my panic levels much. I made it to the event, though, and really enjoyed it — thanks to everyone who came along. It's so great to get to meet people who've read my book and really got something out of it. I think the internet is really helpful on that front, too — before websites and MySpace it must have been a very weird experience for an author to put a book out and, apart from a few readings and maybe some fan mail, never have any contact with the people who've read it! My MySpace page does take up a fair amount of time but I wouldn't be without it. Actually, I think I might be addicted, but that's another story...
I'm now on yet another train, hurtling at high speed through the English countryside towards London and typing this on the thumb-crampingly tiny keyboard on my mobile phone. (And feeling a bit sick!) I've never been on a train quite like this one, it's small, sort of condensed like a plane, and opposite me there's a little tiny little office with a computer in it where the guards hang out and have a laugh as if they'd never suspect there were passengers around to overhear what they were saying. It's all a bit surreal. I'm trying not to think about it.
So, to finish off on, I thought I'd post up a deleted scene from The Raw Shark Texts. It's actually what would have been the very end of the book, but I took it out because I felt it upset the balance of information and ambiguity I was going for in the final chapter. I guess it pretty much amounts to an alternative ending. Here it is, just for fun...
Dear Dr Randle,
I must have written this letter at least twenty times now. Some drafts have been almost as long as the document enclosed, full of notes, tables and flowcharts running over seven or eight sides of A4. I'd have to order five frappes just to pin them down to the table and still they kept blowing away. It's probably for the best. With the way words work, I always end up de-saying half of what I tried to say and anyway my girlfriend has started adding her own bubbles to the charts with I am a geek written in them.
So, to business. (and I'm choosing my words very carefully):
If there is a Dr Randle out there, if you've ever met me, if you receive this parcel, then the enclosed account is yours. Take whatever you want from it and interpret it however suits you, you're free to find whatever meaning you like. All I ask in return is that you don't come looking for me. Please make sure I am left alone and if anyone ever asks you what happened to me, where I am now, how things turned out in the end then please just tell them this:
I am home.
Without regret or any need of hope,
Thanks for reading, folks...
Books mentioned in this post
Steven Hall is the author of The Raw Shark Texts