Monday, 30 November 2009

Beginningings' Beginninging

Once upon a time
I think I have been a little bit in love with Josie Long ever since I stood next to her at a bar and overheard her plotting to challenge the entire place to game of Boggle.

It was before a gig of hers at The Book Club (not the East London venue but the now semi-defunct comedy night from Mr Robin Ince, which also included such delights as readings from the time-travel erotic thriller The Dark Highlander and someone playing Britney Spears’ Toxic on an accordion). I should point out that I hadn’t actually realised that she was an act until she went on stage. Slick, Sheen, slick.

Anyway, there is a great deal to love about someone who is not only hilarious, but who also gives out wonkily-drawn home-made badges at a show called Kindness & Exuberance.

Her latest adventure is called One Hundred Days to Make Me a Better Person. It’s a challenge for people to, well, make themselves a better person over the course of a hundred days. That can either be doing one small thing every day, or one big thing that takes a hundred days.

Call me Ismael
Making me a better person is not difficult; adopting a less childish sense of humour would be a small start (a part of me was amused because this sentence involves a semicolon. Colon. Sniggle. And for that matter: Semi. Snort).

However, I am also not very good at self-improvement. My last two New Year’s Resolutions were to say “Please may I have” rather than “Can I get” when ordering coffee, and to try to become less late. Not punctual, per se - let us not run before we can walk (although perhaps if I did run more often I wouldn’t be so damn late all the time) – just less late. 2010’s resolution is probably “Get hair cut a bit more often,” which is alarmingly close to a client’s frankly outrageous “Wear better shoes.”

So I figured, What the heck.

What's it going to be then, eh?
I thought of, and dismissed, a load of ideas. Learning a word a day. Watching a hundred awesome films (I’ve never seen Goodfellas, The Godfather, The Usual Suspects, Memento or The Shawshank Redemption ... but I have seen Holiday on the Buses. What is wrong with me?). Doing a sequentially rising number of press ups, starting with one on 1 December.

But, after much deliberation, I’ve decided to write the beginnings of a hundred different novels and post them here.

For a long time, I went to bed early
At first glance, this will actually make me a far worse person. It could lead to further self-indulgence, the carrying of a Moleskine notebook, and sitting about in cafes ostentatiously writing on my laptop.

I promise to do none of the above. Moreover, they say write what you know and I don’t know diddly. So that means getting off my skinny white ass more often and doing stuff to seek inspiration, which I guess counts as self-improvement.

The plan is to write a beginning a day. I can’t promise that I can post them every day, but they will be written every day. Promise. It will most likely be the beginning of a novel, although it may be a poem, play or, if I get my pencil case out, a comic strip.

It will range from a line to a page. It may be profane or profound, prosodic or prosaic. Some will hopefully be funny. Some will hopefully be rather lovely. Most will probably suck, but to varying degrees. If I were a genius, they would all interlink. But I’m not, so sorry.

The first should be here and on Facebook and Twitter (@SheenNotHeard) at some point tomorrow. But in the meantime, read these to get an idea of how to do it properly.

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