personal writing

Covid, Books, Bo Burnham and Burnout

Hello all, it’s been a while since we’ve spoken here hasn’t it? The last time I worked on a blog post was in December of last year. Which was, at the time of writing, eight months ago. Yikes. Some blog ay? Sorry about the wait I guess.

I do apologise for the delay, but I promise I was working on something worthwhile. I’m sure the majority of you reading this have already seen, but I self-released my debut book, ‘The Toucan Man’, and honestly the response has been both humbling and overwhelming.

Before I go into the book, and what it means to me, I just want everyone to know how thankful I am about it. I’ve sold a total of 25 copies, which may not sound like the largest number in the world; but considering that it has only been a week or so and I haven’t put any money into marketing yet, I’m absolutely blown away.

Every copy sold is another reason for me to go at it again, another reason to keep trying to make the dream a reality. I worked myself to the bone on ‘The Toucan Man’. It’s a piece of work I wrote, edited, formatted and revised myself (bar a few special people that can be seen on the copyright page); the only thing I couldn’t do myself was design a decent cover, which my friend Dan Kendall did, you can find his website (and his excellent portfolio) here.

Being honest, every picture of you lot holding the book or piece of feedback you’ve sent me over DM has made the whole experience worth it. I don’t write for money, I never have, I write to tell stories; and the fact that you all came out in droves to support me makes me feel like the luckiest man in the world.

So genuinely, thank you. Yes, especially you, blog reader.

A bit of behind the scenes on ‘The Toucan Man’ is that it’s a book based on my grandparents, the characters of Ernest and Eloise, especially their backstories take a lot of liberties from them, so too does the love that they shared. Avoiding spoilers, what happens in the first few chapters is a mixture of the truth and how I feel like I’d cope in that situation, and where my mind would go after so many years of being so reliant on somebody else.

Grief is something I’ve unfortunately experienced a lot of in my short 25 years on Earth, and ‘The Toucan Man’ was my way of putting that into words, as well as being a love letter to the people who showed me what love was in the first place. I tried to tackle anguish the best I could, how different people deal with it, the sense of abandonment, the feeling of needing to find something to fill the person-sized hole in your life afterwards. My hope is that the book can help someone, someday, slowly come to terms with their own loss, and that certain avenues aren’t healthy ways to deal with it.

I’ll stop being so depressing now, you’ve probably had enough of that.

Another fun fact is that the name is a double entendre, let me know if you’ve figured it out.

File:Guinness 250th anniversary poster, Belfast - - 1138788.jpg
Guinness 250th anniversary poster, Belfast (Albert Bridge, 2009)

For anyone that cares too, I’ve finished the first edit of my follow-up novel. This is one that has ascended the word count of novella to a full blown piece of literature. I’m not going to give much away other than the fact it is a historical fiction based in the Soviet Union, and that it’ll hopefully be released next year. Keep your eyes peeled, it’s already a piece of work I adore and one that has expanded on the experience from my debut to become a more well-rounded novel. There are a lot less kinks at this stage than there were at this point in ‘The Toucan Man’, which tells me I’m hopefully getting better? I’m excited for you all to read it. I am trying to become an actual novelist, and I’ve got a fair few more ideas in the tank yet so I’m going to trudge on into the future grinding them out! (Hopefully being read and growing an audience, but who knows.)

In news to some of you too, I caught COVID recently (despite being twice vaccinated and being careful), so me (and my girlfriend) have been in isolation since the books release, so outside of the messages I’ve received, I’ve had no human contact with anyone. So really, all of your support has been amazing, especially during a time where I’ve been inside again, with little else to think about.

Bo Burnham’s favourite book, probably, if he read it.

Like most people I’ve been a bit obsessed with ‘Inside‘ since it’s release onto Netflix, and honestly my opinions on that special could be a whole blog post in itself. If you haven’t already, go and watch it, have you been living under a rock or something? The special is funny, it’s existential, it sums up lockdown, modern society and being a creative in ways I wouldn’t even know how to start expressing in a book, never mind through comedic songs. It’s a chaotic masterpiece, so just go and sit on your couch and put it on already.

Speaking of creativity, I’m already trying to start book three of my little self-published repertoire, but between writing two books in the space of a year and having the disease that managed to break down society as we know it, I’ve been struggling to get into the flow of the story, so I might be a bit more active on here for a while as I ease myself into another big project. Keep an eye out for early 2022 though, for the next (already in the works) release. If the reaction to my sophomore effort is half as good as the one that greeted my debut, I’ll be absolutely buzzing.

Thanks again to you all. When I started up this stupid blog last year I’d never dreamed that I’d accumulate over 2,000 views, and that the initial support and gradual growth would spur me on to write my first book.

Which you can buy here, if you haven’t already ❤️

Or potentially leave an Amazon review? I’m waiting for a few of those to roll in before I start marketing it!

Or review on Goodreads, if you’re that way inclined!

Soppy blog over, thanks for reading and thanks for supporting me.


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