What did I do this year? Some of the things I set out to do. Got rid of my house. Re-homed most of the chickens. Won the BBC Writers Room competition. Did I mention that? Oh. Ok. Well, actually, I won the BBC Writers Room competition.
With a screenplay based on my book, Not Your Heart Away, which I also finished and published this past year.
Wrote some poems. Got a radio show. Wrote No Batteries Required, about a bankrupt chicken farmer who decides to kidnap a celebrity chef the same day the Prime Minister he was at school with goes to offer him a job as Minister of Food.
Anything else? Quite a lot. Tried to help. Lost my heart. Found it again. Put it in trust for someone who might appreciate it. Tried to stop acting like an arse quite as much as I managed to do for several months this year. Vowed to listen more and decide less. Walked a lot. I liked that. Took some decent photos. Got a new house to live in, that I think is nicer than the one I moved out of. Saw some old friends, made some old friends (no, not like that), caught up with some old friends and realised how fantastically valuable they are when you need them.
Tried to write School Lane, a story that started in Not Your Heart Away, a story about an old man who had been a young boy when he was conscripted into the Hitler Youth, like almost every other small boy in Germany. And I couldn’t do it. Maybe I can next year. It became too complex, too involved, too much about Janni Schenck, the boy whose teacher beat him and his classmates up to stop them being killed by the American patrol coming to their village. Janni’s story expanded to include the Edelweiss Pirates, which meant I had to get him from Hamburg where they hung out to a small village in the mountains, where the real story, the one I heard from an old man in a pub long ago now was set, which was a story in itself.
And alarmingly, bought an electro-acoustic ukelele to do an open-mic 1940s crooner set comprising Fools Rush In, The Nearness of You and either Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens or How Much Do I Love You. Maybe. Or April Played The Fiddle. That bit might need some work. Like learning the ukelele for a start. And it’s sung impossibly high for me. I could do it fine when I was fourteen. Can’t do it now.
So this year coming, 2014 is a new start. New house. A new heart and some new friends. See you there.