Why hello there! I’m very, terribly, tremendously excited to invite you all to the launch party for Six Cold Feet. If you’re in Brisbane, come and party with us in person. If you’re anywhere else in the universe, have yourself a private listening party and let us know what you think of our first episode.
This year I – along with the rest of the known universe – have been feeling increasingly disenfranchised with the state of modern journalism. The 24-hour-news cycle, Russian fake news farms, real news being called fake news, fake news passing as real news, fake juice being called real juice and then placed into $400 dispensers, it’s a quagmire of questionable quantity over all too rare quality. Good journalism still exists but – much like Ryan Gosling visiting a wax museum exhibit of ‘Ryan Gosling through the ages’ – it’s difficult to find the genuine and actual amongst a forest of false facsimiles feigning the factual.
I’ve been spending less time reading the news and more time reading books. This is not to say I wish to be less informed. It’s just that when the news cycle starts to include responses to op-eds of something someone may have possibly said according to sources who cannot be named because they are imaginary best friends and/or drug-induced hallucinations, I start to develop a craving for long-form, in-depth writing that can’t be sated by listicles, tweets, or articles. In confusion: here’s a list of some of my favourite books this year.
RUNNING THE BOOKS by Avi Steinberg
I’ve been doing a lot of research on prisons lately, including the brilliant Ear Hustle podcast and Ted Conover’s revelatory Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing, but I particularly enjoyed this book. Steinberg shares anecdotes ranging from the bittersweet to the brutal. My favourite part: learning that male and female prisoners shared the same library at this facility, but on alternating days, never being allowed to meet in person. They would write each other love letters (known as ‘kites’) and leave them in the books in the library. I’m a sucker for stories of human connection in the face of adversity, and throwing a library in the mix just sweetens the deal.
THE ANIMATORS by Kayla Rae Whitaker
I’m grateful to the relentlessly fabulous Avid reader bookclub for pointing me in the direction of this book (along with a few others on this list.) If you enjoy reading and aren’t part of a book club, not to put too fine a point on it, but what the fuck is wrong with you? Just kidding. Mostly.
What I loved about this book was the way it explored the friendship of the two lead characters and took them to places that were unexpected and thoroughly genuine in their presentation. Although it deals with some extremely dark content, there’s a verve that resonates throughout the novel that makes it feel ultimately uplifting in spite – or perhaps because of – what the characters go through. I got to see Whitaker speak earlier this year and she was charming and engrossing and also was a fellow fan of the Maxx, so she can chalk me up as a lifelong fan.
TIME TRAVEL: A HISTORY by James Gleick
Before I read this book I had an idea of myself placed on a continuum in which I was aware of a future self who would eventually read this book. Eventually I became that self looking back at a past self who was yet to experience having read this book, but who would eventually become the self that I now was, who was formerly the person who had not read this book but intended to become the person in the future who would have read this book after having been someone who intended to read this book, and further back still someone who was unaware of this book but upon becoming aware of its existence would desire to be a future self who had read it.
THE SELLOUT by Paul Beatty
Beatty writes like the world is on fire and he is yelling commands to put it out in some places and pour gasoline on others. His writing is vivacious, lyrical, insightful, clever, and angry. There are plenty of writers who can pen a great story and construct engaging characters, but so few where you can read a paragraph and instantly match their particular flavour and style to the writer. By way of example, this masterful snippet:
“I’m so fucking tired of black women always being described by their skin tones! Honey-colored this! Dark-chocolate that! My paternal grandmother was mocha-tinged, café-au-lait, graham-fucking-cracker brown! How come they never describe the white characters in relation to foodstuffs and hot liquids?
Why aren’t there any yogurt-colored, egg-shell-toned, string-cheese-skinned, low-fat-milk white protagonists in these racist, no-third-act-having books?”
FEVER DREAM by Samantha Schweblin
It’s been far too long since I read something so brazenly surreal. I know that Twin Peaks comparisons are woefully overused, but I think in this case it’s warranted. This a short, fascinating K-hole of a novel. Concise, hallucinatory story and scenes that whir and eddy around the page. I’ll definitely read this again.
AN UNCERTAIN GRACE by Krissy Kneen
Another Avid recommendation, penned by fellow Brisvakistanian Krissy Kneen, this was a bizarre and beautiful book. It shifted times, perspectives and characters to examine human relationships, sexuality and consciousness. An Uncertain Grace made me feel at turns uncomfortable, intrigued, enthralled, and appalled. Much like the human experience that novels are supposed to reflect, it was complex and surprising.
THE GOOD FATHER by Noah Hawley
In the arts (as in most facets of life) jealousy can be debilitating and insidious. However, it is REALLY hard not to be jealous of Noah Hawley. Not only is he an incredible author, but also the showrunner of the brilliant Fargo and the incredible Legion. The latter is, for my money, the best show on TV right now.
In any case, what I love about this book is its perspective. It examines a man, Paul Allen, who has recently discovered that his son has been accused of assassinating a presidential candidate. The way Hawley explores Allen’s denial, fear, confusion and endless questioning of his own possible failings as a father who may be ultimately responsible for this violent act is a far more fascinating approach than simply examining the shooter himself.
In an age of violence (largely perpetrated by men) works that analyse the origins and causes of extreme acts are essential. I’ve thought about this book almost every day since I read it six months ago.
My best friend Alex brought this collection back from NZ for me and sweet jelly Jesus on graham crackers it is good! Filthy, hilarious, insightful, Bird is everything I love in a poet. I was lucky enough to tell her how much I admired her work when I met her at the Queensland Poetry Festival this year but she looked at me like I was a weirdo (which, to be fair, I am) and I slunk away awkwardly. You might’ve seen her poem Monica flitting about the internet, every one of these pieces is just as entertaining.
PS: the aforementioned Alex is currently raising money for the National Resources Defence Council by riding across the entire mainland USA. A lot of us like to complain about politics (like me) but it’s people like Alex who actually roll up their sleeves (or bikepants, as the case may be) and get the work done. Flip him some money if you feel like donating to a worthy cause and making the world a slightly less shitty place.
DYING: A MEMOIR by Cory Taylor
This year I lost two wonderful friends and as a result I’ve been obsessing over death and mortality. I thought that reading this book might help. It didn’t. At all. But it was a brilliant book, so there is that. Taylor has a enrapturing candour to her writing that makes this short but fascinating book an absolute must read.
Death is one of the few things that truly unites all of us, and it’s rare to see it examined so honestly and thoughtfully. I also recommend checking out the interview she did with Richard Fidler.
WITHOUT YOU, THERE IS NO US by Suki Kim
Given the current (appalling) state of journalism I have more respect than ever before for writers like Kim who engage in long-form investigative journalism. For this book, she undertook great personal risk by posing as a christian English teacher in order to gain access to one of the most closed nations on earth. She writes about experiences such as her students asking her things like ‘Is it true everyone in the world speaks Korean?’ A fascinating and terrifying reminder of what can happen when you allow propaganda and dictatorial thinking to subdue information (Australia and America, I’m looking at you.)
I’ll write up another entry with the bad and the weird picks for the year soon.* Also, if you like books, maybe you’d like to check out one of mine? My last novel, Killing Adonis, received a Kirkus Star, which is sort of like a Mario star in that it grants temporary invincibility and superspeed.
*denotes a length of time ranging from ‘tomorrow’ to ‘the heat death of the universe.’
2016 has been an uncommonly awful year, luckily it’s in its final death throes. As we listen to its final hideous gasps and groans, perhaps it’s time to think about how we got to this terrible, stupid place. I would argue that the two underlying concepts that brought us here are lack of education and lack of empathy. You know what you can do to address that? Read more books. Tell your friends to read more books. On that note, I thought I’d write up some of the standout books I read this year; the good, the bad and the weird.
Here’s part one: THE GOOD.
This was the first book I read this year, penned by MacArthur genius grant winner Ta-Nehisi Coates. It’s a thoughtful, rich and intelligent exploration of America’s long and troubled struggle with racial injustice. Told in the form of a letter to his son, Between the World and Me is beautiful, tragic and hugely important. I found so much of what he described to be unfortunately paralleled here in Australia with the racial injustice towards our indigenous people. Fun fact: Coates now writes Black Panther comics.
HOW TO SET A FIRE AND WHY
I saw Jesse Ball speak at Avid reader earlier this year and found him supernaturally strange and fascinating. This novel, his latest, is brilliant and insightful. The narrator’s voice and observations are vivid and revealing, alternating from hilariously sardonic to bleak and philosophical. After I read this I picked up everything else he’d written, the man is a stone cold genius.
THIS ISLAND WILL SINK
I was excited to see Lifted Brow publishing release their first novel, and this one did not disappoint. We read this for my book club and I absolutely loved it. It was strange and confusing in all the best ways. I’m thrilled to see more intelligent, complex genre fiction coming out of Australia. MORE OF THIS PLEASE.
Speaking of intelligent genre fiction…I am a sucker for books set in Brisbane, and this one was a real gem. I managed to win a free copy (even though I get a lot of books for free these days, it never stops being exciting) and loved this story set in a strange, supernatural version of Brisbane. Part detective noir, part supernatural thriller, wholly entertaining. Looking forward to the sequel.
I first heard Bryan Stevenson speak on one of my favourite podcasts, Criminal. I found him hypnotic. This book is not just a study of the legal system in America, but a complex exploration of the concepts of justice, morality and redemption. The line ‘each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done’ stuck with me so much I wrote a short story inspired by it (should be out next year, hopefully). Like Coates, Stevenson is also a MacArthur genius grant recipient. His TED talk is here.
One of Brisbane’s best loved writers has recently turned his attention to novellas. The first two in the Wisdom Tree series, Gotham and Venice, were both great but this is by far my favourite. Telling the story of the unlikely friendship between a writer and a gigantic footballer turned professor, I loved the way this story felt both magical and utterly grounded in reality in the same time.
THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN
I first became interested in this book when I read it had topped the most censored books in American libraries list. This book was banned primarily because it contained drug references, swearing and references to masturbation. This content was judged to be inappropriate for its target audience; teenage boys. Of course, if you’ve ever spoken to or been a teenage boy, you’ll know that drugs, swearing and masturbation are completely foreign concepts to them. In any case, this book is incredible, Alexie is also a poet and this shows in his writing which is in turns coarse and lyrical. One of the few books I’ve read that really captures that strange, bewildering era of adolescence, and in important insight into the numerous injustices and difficulties endured by Native Americans.
ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY
I found Anders’ work through her work for i09, which used to be a pretty great website but these days is pretty average. Nevertheless, I read this whilst drinking cheap beer on a rooftop in Seville, and I would definitely make that a ‘serving suggestion’ for this and every other book ever written. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but the humour was great and I loved the authenticity of the relationships between the characters. It referenced and toyed with a bunch of classic sci-fi/fantasy tropes and it had fantastic dialogue. If this isn’t made into a movie then Hollywood should die in a fire. (To be fair, Hollywood really should die in a fire.)
THE MIND’S EYE
It was bittersweet reading this book so soon after Sacks’ death. I heard a friend describe him as ‘my favourite mind’ and I think that sums it up perfectly. There are precious few writers who can describe complex medical concepts in a manner that is so fascinating and captivating. Also, I learned in this book that Oliver Sacks had face blindness, which I always thought was a ridiculous thing that Arrested Development invented but turns out to be real. The world is a strange and stupid place.
THE BRICKS THAT BUILT THE HOUSES
I loved the way this book examined everyday people in difficult circumstances in such real, palpable detail. Tempest charts each character back to their parents and their childhoods, something which I really think more authors should do, and brings us to their current, damaged states. Probably the best ‘this is the way things are right now and it’s terrible but we could fix it if we stopped being such jerks all the time’ novel I’ve read this year. I realise that’s not a genre, but it bloody well should be. Her album Everybody Down tells the same story in a more hip-hop format. It’s very good, but her most recent offering Let Them Eat Chaos is THE BEST.
I’ll be back next week* with part two: The Bad and the Weird.
PS If you want to add my books to your list, you can grab them here. Killing Adonis is on sale for just TEN BUCKS HOLY WHAT?!?
PPS People always say to me: “How do you read 100 books a year? That’s IMPOSSIBLE!” It’s really not. Here’s a few tips.
*or later if I have a lot of laundry/editing.
Like most rational people, I have a firm policy of telling Xmas to SHUT UP until December. Now that it actually is December, let’s talk about shiny happy things!
I’m having my inaugural happy Xmas/Hanukkah/thankgod2016isnearlydead sale! My last novel, Killing Adonis, is now available for just TEN cashmoneydollarbucks! That’s even less than a bar of Jesus Soap.
Killing Adonis is about to have its North American release, and it recently picked up a Kirkus Star (one of my top five favourite stars, right behind Sirius A and Sirius B). In exchange for 10 measly dollars (please do not send dollars infected with measles) I will throw a copy at you, signed and inscribed however you like.
You can also grab any of my other books. If you don’t love them, I will refund your purchase!* What could be better than a book for Xmas? Well, a robot dinosaur I guess. Or a time machine. Maybe some sort of mystical gauntlet. But apart from that basically nothing.
HAPPY XMAS OR WHATEVER HOLIDAY THING YOU DO OR DON’T BELIEVE IN!
*All refunds attract a processing charge of $50 per book.
For the last few months I’ve been working on the script for a project called Six Cold Feet with the luminously talented actor/producer Jessica McGaw. We are now beginning the overwhelmingly wondrous and wondrously overwhelming process of casting. We’re really excited about this project, and it’ll be a really fun and easy recording process for the cast. You won’t even need to worry about spending hours in hair and make-up or weird costumes or anything! You can show up to record in your pjs if you want.
We’re looking for male and female actors across a variety of ages for the different roles. Full brief and contact details are below. I look forward to hearing your vocal wizardry.
This project will take the form of a ten-episode fiction podcast told in the style of ‘found audio’ (the audio equivalent of a found footage movie).
The story follows the disappearance of a musician and her brother’s attempts to find and help her. He interviews friends and family, uploading recordings to their band’s website in the hope that fans will help find her. As the series progresses the audience begins to realise that he is an unreliable narrator and there is a lot more to his family and the town they live in than he is willing to reveal.
When he finally finds his sister, she confronts him about of his distorted version of reality, and he is forced to either leave the world he knows behind or surrender to delusion.
Six Cold Feet is set in rural QLD and will be presented with a soundtrack of both old blues songs that mirror the themes of tragedy in music and the tortured artist as well as original recordings made by the cast. It is inspired by the mystery and mythology surrounding musicians such as Robert Johnson, Syd Barrett, Kurt Cobain, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin.
This project is profit share and after costs are recouped, actors will be paid based on their time commitment, size of role and rehearsal attendance.
If you would like to audition, please email email@example.com to receive a cast list and excerpts.
Very excited to finally share my talk from TEDxSouthBank! Big thanks to Anna Cooke, Rozina Suliman, Imaginary Theatre and QAGOMA for letting me use their images and discuss their wonderful creations. I had a lot of fun doing this, the first couple of minutes are me performing a spoken word piece about the experience of attending TEDx, the rest is a brief talk about the importance of art, particularly for children. Hope you enjoy it, feel free to share it around!
Over the last few years I’ve had many aspiring writers come to me for advice as they seek to make their way through the confusing labyrinth that is the publishing industry. Sometimes it’s simple queries like ‘should I get an agent?’, sometimes more bizarre requests like ‘for the love of God could you please stop talking about royalty payments and call an ambulance I think this man is having a heart attack!’
Many of these young, hopeful writers have subsequently released novels which have not only outsold mine but also been far more critically acclaimed. This means that they end up being given headline slots at literary festivals while I’m shuffling around in one of the weird rooms on the top floor of a secondary venue for a panel that is attended by half a dozen octogenarians who were expecting a workshop on efficient calendar management (it was actually scheduled for the following evening).
I thought for this reason that it would be a good idea to give some advice to my future
rivals peers. Follow these wise words and you too could become a New York Limes Bestsmelling Author!
Make sure all of your submissions are written in size eight and covered in glitter.
Here’s a little industry secret: submission editors actually want to read everything in size eight font. I know, I know, all the style guides say never hand in anything outside of 11-13, but this is actually an elaborate ruse to throw off the easily misled. There’s a saying in publishing: “If it ain’t size eight, it ain’t that great.” Remember to cover your submission in as much glitter as you can get your hands on, and spray it with the scent of old feet and mildew (submission editors have unusual olfactory senses owing to the fact that they spend a lot of time in tiny rooms reading size eight font manuscripts). This will give your submission the edge it needs to make it all the way to the publishing queue.
Industry etiquette and relevant blood-oaths and battlecries
When engaging important figureheads of the publishing industry in conversation remember that they are a bit like rare birds; they are easily scared off and they feed their children by regurgitating into their mouths. The key to making a good impression is to use the secret handshake: firm grip and two bone-crushing pumps as you conspiratorially whisper “The blood moon approaches!” while slowly pouring your drink on their shoes. Once this secret greeting is uttered, you will be invited into the hallowed halls of the Literary Industry’s Elite Sanctuary.
Dress to depress!
So you’ve managed to arrange a meeting with your dream publisher. Wow, things are really looking upwardstyles!!!! Pay close attention to these dress tips and you could soon be a best-selling author like Stieg Larsson, Margaret Atwood or that girl who was on the Jersey Shore. Men: make sure you are showing as much chest hair as possible, preferably arranged in braids. If you are lacking in chest hair, you’ll want to shave a large jungle cat or Sumatran orangutang and glue its hair to your chest. Ladies: it’s a sad truth that women are always judged more on their appearance than men, but for job interviews you want to look serious, professional and intelligent. This is why you should wear whatever the hell you want AS LONG AS it is accompanied by a sign hung around your neck that says in large red letters I AM VERY SERIOUS, PROFESSIONAL AND INTELLIGENT.
Contract non-negotiables: Attack helicopters et al
If you’ve followed all these steps, then it must be time to sign that contract. Hot diggity Dogstoveksy, the dream is real! Your mum was right, you really are special! Maybe that weird old martial arts expert you met in the cave was also right about you being the Chosen One! Now, I’m not too proud to admit that I’ve signed some less than perfect contracts in the past, so let me help you avoid the same mistake by looking out for what pitfalls to avoid. Aside from minor details like royalties and film rights, you’ll want to focus on making sure that your contract includes both an attack helicopter with twin laser canons as well as one of the rings of power.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to ask for the ONE RING, because that is just a dick move. However, there are many rings of power and it is standard that each new author receive one as part of their contract with any respectable publisher. They may try and throw you off by saying ‘The rings of power aren’t actually real?’ or ‘Are you completely insane?’ or possibly even ‘Have you been listening to that idiot J. M. Donellan?!?’ But stand your ground and tell them: ‘Gimmie that ring, or this contract ain’t a thing.’ If your potential publisher is not willing to give into these perfectly reasonable demands then the only honourable thing to do is set that contract, and possibly their building, on fire and walk off into the sunset.
Next week: J. M. Donellan’s guide to INSTANT weight reduction!!!!! (STEP ONE: cut off your legs.)
Working in the arts, you have to expect the odd negative review and the conventional wisdom is to just ignore them. However, I honestly never expected that anyone would ever care enough about my work to call for a boycott, and I DEFINITELY did not think that anyone would ever be demented enough to call for a boycott and write a 1300+ word essay based purely on the TITLE! Oh, what a world of wonders we live in! Here’s my review of Gerald Keaney’s utterly sincere and yet unintentionally hilarious boycott call to arms.
1 ““Poetry is dead!” It’s an edgy and intriguing title for a poetry event on 9th December 2015, part of the Brisbane Powerhouse’s end of year Wonderland Festival.
Your essay begins with getting the date wrong. GREAT START!
2 While the pair’s subject matter is up to them…
Implies that the subject matter of an independently produced performance would, for some insane reason, be up to someone else (you, presumably?) This is deranged enough to be hilarious. Please continue!
3 If everyone is a poet, there are no more poets.
In our incredibly brief online interaction I saw you use this line three times, so you’re obviously very proud of it. Poetry is currently a niche art form, so this is hardly a concern. Furthermore, one of the reasons why it is so sparsely practised is because people are put off by the kind of elitist gatekeeping you’re espousing here. Imagine if you told every ten year old who picked up a guitar: “You’d BETTER have a comprehensive understanding of 19th century flamenco music!”
4 Donellan also claimed his “poetry is dead” byline referred to old fashioned poetry. “In with the new, out with the old!” he declares…
You’ve taken a (wildly exaggerated and inaccurate) paraphrasing and presented it as a quote. I seem to recall Jonah Lehrer doing something similar. Things didn’t work out too well for him, did they?
5 Nevertheless Donellan’s endeavour could have easily been saved. He could have been a little more enthusiastic about discussion afterwards… Along with poetry, he obviously thinks public discussion has died, and it is time for the public to sit back like good passive little consumers of art.
I said I was happy to talk after the show – repeatedly – but that we could not host a Q & A afterwards because we had to pack down the stage for the show which began 15 minutes after ours finished. You really don’t seem to have a very firm grasp of either time or basic social protocol. You aren’t an only child who was raised by some sort of humourless disgraced Slavic royalty in a barn with only your rancorous patriarch and pet woodlouse for company by any chance?
6 Even without seeing their show I can only conclude that it is a mistake for Donellan and Wilmett to use the title “Poetry is dead.”
Easily my favourite part. Basically the equivalent of picking up a copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and saying: “I fucking HATE rye, I’m not reading this shit!”
7 They are left displaying only a faux cleverness, and the way the pair has used the slogan Poetry is dead gives entirely the wrong message about poetry itself. For that reason my advice is boycott.
First of all, are you familiar with the concept of irony? Seeing as the only thing you seem to be interested in is your own opinions, would you prefer that we called our act Gerald Keaney and the Gerald Keaneys? Because unfortunately that name is already taken by some deranged narcissist. In any case, even if you think it’s a terrible title, calling for a boycott is definitely overkill. What next, call for a ban on poetry readings in a library ? Oh wait, I see you already did that.
8 YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SHOW. I realise I mentioned this already, but I felt it was such an important point that it was worth repeating.
In conclusion: if this is a mislabeled piece of fiction written from the perspective of a character who is a petty, ageing punk who indulges in writing petulant rants and dressing them up as rambling, incoherent academic critique then congratulations, you’ve nailed it!
However, if this is actually a sincere essay, it gets a solid F+. The ‘+’ is awarded on the off-chance that you really are an only child who was raised in a barn with only your rancorous patriarch and pet woodlouse for company. Perhaps next time you could try typing with both hands?
Writers are often asked: “What’s your daily process?”
I assume this is because many people entertain the outlandish fantasy that most writers wake up late, stare philosophically into the middle distance for an hour or two, do about twenty minutes of actual work and then spend the rest of the day hanging out in opium dens. I’d like to take a few moments to dispel these fallacies by offering a very rare and personal glimpse into my daily life as a New York Limes Best Smelling author.
START WITH A HEALTHY BREAKFAST
In my teenage years I began most mornings with a cup of Slurm or ambrosia alongside a large serving of fried unicorn. These days I’m trying to watch my figure (watch it EXPAND amirite?) so I stick to a nice cockatrice omelette. It’s important for me to use free range eggs, sadly in 2015 many farmers still engage in the barbaric practice of battery caging cockatrices. If you have allergies to cockatrice eggs you can substitute dragon or phoenix, but these tend to be a little pricier.
Next I have to get some ideas. Writers are often asked ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ and there are a range of sources, but I like to keep things simple. I use the classic monkeys at typewriters technique. The smell and noise can be annoying but it’s worth it. The recommended quantity is 100, but I don’t shift as many units as James Patterson (word on the street is that he has an international conglomerate of monkeys working for him) so I can only afford 43. Also, due to a purchasing error, I only have pygmy marmosets and they have to jump from one key to the next, so typing a whole book takes a really long time.
SOCIAL MEDIUM TIME
Often young aspiring writers ask me how much time you should ideally spend on social media, usually while they are tweeting from their phone and scrolling through instagram on their iPad. My reply is usually ‘Hey, do you mind? Are you familiar with the concept of eye contact?’ and then I tell them that social media is an important tool for tracking idiotic things that Jonathan Franzen has said recently, but what you really want to invest your time in is a social MEDIUM. The use of a psychic to spruik your books in the land of the dead is very important. The dead don’t really have much to do except bitch about each other, so they’re always hungry for reading material, plus their population is huge (and growing by the day!) so they’re an important market to tap into.
33 1/3rd PM SNACK BREAK!
Usually around this time I feel my motivation lagging and I need to perk myself up. I like to achieve this by enjoying my favourite beverage: The Tears of My Enemies. When I was a young rookie I had to collect these the old fashioned way, with baseball bats and threats. This obviously took a lot of time. Nowadays my schedule’s pretty crowded, so I use a tears exchange program. My tears are sent out to a central agency who in turn provide me with the requested tears. I’m not sure where mine are sent, because it’s an anonymous program, but Christopher Pyne has been throwing a lot of shade at me via twitter recently.
Yell at the walls.
Practise De Niro’s monologue from Taxi Driver.
Attempt to balance a spoon on my nose.
Get a good night’s sleep. Resting is important for a healthy mind and body. Unfortunately, all of the people I’ve wronged/maimed/imprisoned in magical cages over the years weigh very heavily on my soul, so the only way I can sleep is on a pile of money. Even more unfortunately, I am pretty broke, so I have to sleep on a pile of monopoly money.
When the magic’s all done and the book is finally complete, I have a really hard time waiting, so I like to cryogenically freeze myself until the night of the launch. This allows me to emerge from my stasis chamber to a round of applause. A word of caution though, I did once overset the timer and my publisher had to hire a model who was much better looking than me and, embarrassingly, was also a lot wittier and more intelligent. I think he’s just signed a six book deal with a Penguin. Not Penguin publishing, just a penguin named Steve.