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I have never been one to properly send Christmas cards. It’s just not my style. Nor has it ever been the style of my friends, so to have sent anything would have encouraged replies along the lines of: “What’s happened to you?”, ” you’ve changed, man”, and “Dude, did you move to the suburbs, get a white picket fence and become a soccer mom?”

I receive cards from a couple of friends who are properly Moms and their Christmas cards always include nice family photos, but these are friends I’ve had since I was about seven or eight years of age and thus know that their families are far from perfect. In fact, they are perfectly imperfect.

Christmas cards are quite frankly beyond me. It’s the level of organisation required that I find incredibly exhausting. Not only would I have to know my friends’ addresses – something that changes not infrequently – I would also have to get my act together well before Christmas and let’s face it, I would probably only remember that Christmas cards are something that you’d want to send on, oh, say, Christmas Eve. Which would, as you can imagine, sort of miss the point of it.

I figure I’m doing well to see all or at least most of my friends in December, and you know, catch up in person. But if I had to write one, it would go something like this:

Dear All,

Be careful what you wish for. I wished for a new, better paid job, and got it, unfortunately it meant leaving London for Bristol. Which everyone who lives in Bristol told me was just like London. Friends, it is not. It is in no way like London, unless one counts the fact that it would like to be. Which I do not.

On the upside, the move has allowed me to once again live on my own. Gone are the days of waking up to find that CatLady’s gone manic again and has been sleep-eating salad and aubergine tapanade. On the downside my new flat has a mould smell that cannot be accurately located and I have developed a cough not dissimilar to the Paris cough. I’m suffering with consumption four days out of seven, so it would be worse.

Success has eluded me and my fiction writing career remains largely fictional, though the fantasies I’m enjoying have outdone themselves. Seriously. My Booker Award acceptance speech is really refined. And well it should be as I’ve been rehearsing it every night instead of crying myself to sleep. It’s important to feel as productive as possible isn’t it? Though I did get closer to success than previously this year: a small press was interested in publishing my latest (i.e. fourth) manuscript, however I was a bit quick with the revisions and they were not met with the enthusiasm or contract I was hoping for.

I have been fortunate enough to have spent a bit of time in Barcelona this year – never mind that the trip was prefaced by the dissolution of my relationship. Spending time with old friends, eating good food and drinking to excess in the sunshine can never be sniffed at.

Speaking of old friends, I will be in Toronto for a few days over the Christmas period and enjoying spending time with some very dear old friends. We’ll be going on a 72-hour bender so if you fancy joining us, do! Don’t worry if your finances are tight – we still only drink in dive bars. And all apologies in advance if I call you for bail money.

All very best,

Me. xx

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