The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: One

Here we are, the first of the Twelve Blogs of Christmas, my now traditional (by which I mean, in the British fashion, that this is the second year) run up to Christmas in which I invalidate my holiday by, well, writing a lot, one blog a day.

It’s been a huge year for me: Human Nature on telly, Japan, Wisdom published by Marvel, the Writers’ Guild Award, getting back to writing prose on a regular basis. It’s been great, but also a lot of work, and I’m still hard at it. Yesterday, I sent in a new draft of the new pilot script for my pitch for a BBC Saturday night series, and was pleased when it was sent on to the Senior Partners. You know how this goes: one cannot bet on anything in my profession, but I’m pleased with it. I’m also right in the middle of plotting something else for television, and am nearly at the end of an SF short story, the second in a series, the first of which I’ve already sold. I always loved, in my youth, discovering SF series stories in different collections and magazines, and I hope to be able to continue that tradition. (I may well be able to let you know the destination of the first one in this run of blogs.) I’m also knocking Excalibur ideas back and forth with my editor at Marvel, Naughty Nick Lowe, and loving seeing the pencil pages of both the Vision one-off and that other comic project coming through. Goodness, don’t Marvel employ some talented artists? I’m also proud to have had the opportunity, which I never expected, to actively support the Writers’ Guild of America strike, deciding, with the support of my agency, not to cross their picket line and write for an American show (nothing you’ve heard of).

Today I’ll be whizzing into London to meet up with author and SF critic Kim Newman and his pals (I’m wondering whether or not to continue those little descriptive insertions, but the trouble is, I know I’m addressing at least four different audiences, who don’t tend to know who each other’s heroes are) for Kim’s regular Christmas lunch. I always enjoy these get togethers, where I find myself seated beside either old friends like (authors) Pat Cadigan and John Courtenay Grimwood, or get to meet lovely new people like last year with (author) Robert Holdstock. See? Now I’ve pointed it out, you’re finding it annoying too. Then tonight, the nineteen-piece rhythm and blues orchestra for which Caroline sings, Boogie Me, are playing a private party, which is going to be a tremendous bash. They’re also playing New Year’s Eve.

I’m now usually at home alone during my working day, which has taken some getting used to, but I’m there now. I pop out for a sandwich at lunch time, or work on the laptop in a coffee shop, so I get to see people. My concentration levels are right up, I’m getting a lot more done, and my internal voices are back. Not just internal. I’m vocalising just about everything. ‘I wonder,’ I said out loud to myself in front of the fridge the other day, ‘how much milk is left?’ ‘I don’t know,’ I replied, ‘I suppose we’ll find out’. And then I stopped mid-step and got quite scared. It’s just one more of those things from real life that I couldn’t put in a script.

I’ve decorated the lounge, letting tinsel fall when the evaporation of blutack dictates it. So the room feels more like some sort of festive jungle, with downward as well as horizontal spangliness. There is even a small tree, bought from the florist round the corner. Presents are nearly sorted, largely thanks to the amazing ability of our small but perfect local bookshop, White Horse Books, to get orders back the next day. Cards are a different matter. I’d like to do e-cards, but I can’t find a service that offers classy enough cards for the right charity. I suspect whoever sorts that is made for life. It may well be a last minute scribbling match. You should see my list. Two hundred names! Some winnowing may well be in order.

But amongst all that, my usual sense of the numinous, which normally starts manifesting itself around this time of year, and reaches its apex at Midnight Mass, and has something to do with the quality of light, rich food and dark beer, and a sense of imminence in the countryside, has so far kept itself to a distant rumble. The beacon atop the Folly Tower, lit only at Christmas and visible from the big window in my kitchen, helps. As do the ‘friends with tired eyes’ down the bar and the lights and tree in the market place. And Kate Bush has made her contribution with ‘Lyra’, a new track that displays her usual connection to the magic. But no… hopefully stopping work and getting out into that light more, and focusing on the qualities I seek, may get me there. I shouldn’t treat this as a quest, because that way lies disappointment, but, well… we’ll see.

In the days to come, as well as the usual year in review pieces, I hope to be blogging about: The Beatles; Chris Claremont; Facebook etiquette and the fine line between the need for drama to hurt an audience and deliberately hurting them and the need for fans to recognise the difference (hmm, snappy title needed?) I’ll also be posting photos of folk in the terrifying scarecrow masks given away by the clearly deranged Doctor Who Adventures. Also, there will definitely be at least one bit of exciting news.

I’ll be spreading out my links a bit as well. So let’s start with this one. Do you want (excellent Doctor Who action figure manufacturers) Character Options to add (Fourth Doctor companion) Harry Sullivan menaced by a (mutated bivalve) giant clam to their range? You do?(!) Well, now there’s a petition:

Goodness. Seventy-nine of you, eh? If it actually happens, you’ll regret it, you know. Anyhow, must get on, so until… tomorrow, Cheerio!

10 Response to "The Twelve Blogs of Christmas: One"

  • MerseyMal Says:

    "Harry Sullivan menaced by a (mutated bivalve) giant clam"

    That scene in Genesis of The Daleks always makes me cringe. How he got his foot inside that thing by accident, I've no idea.

  • The Sword Is Drawn Says:

    Hi Paul,

    I read Chris Claremont's final X-Men: Die by the Sword issue, yesterday, bringing to a close he association with Excalibur. Crikey! He has left you some mighty big changes for certain Excalibur characters, hasn't he?

    Not entirely sure I'm happy about them all, but it's certainly a change.

  • LJC Says:

    hurrah for giant clams!

  • Tom Daylight Says:

    Y'know, the twelve days of Christmas actually start with Christmas day... so you might have to write another twelve then. ;)

  • John Toon Says:

    I love the matter-of-factness of "to commemorate the classic scene... in which Harry sticks his foot in a Giant Clam." I'm almost tempted to sign on the basis of such outright mockery of "Genesis of the Daleks".

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    It taxes even dear old Ian Marter (who's very good) to try and make that look like an accident. I'm entirely aware, Sword, and will take those onboard. Yeah, Tom, I live with a theologian, but the Twelve Blogs start when they do so I get some time off after Christmas. Let's face it, John, it is the very apex of Genesis.

  • John Toon Says:

    The apex? It is the very pivot about which "Genesis" turns! That, or the cliffhanger in which Sarah Jane falls three feet.

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I'm fond of both.

  • Anonymous Says:

    I'd just like to show my respect to you for not crossing the picket line and writing for an American show.

    Thanks for not being a scab.
    It makes me proud to be British.

    Jamie Shields

  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks very much. I'm very happy to have taken this course of action.