Saturday, 15 May 2010

Which Doors to Knock on? 
(Okay, or, On Which Doors to Knock?)

[Here's the link to my *top ten Amazon best-seller* book (grab a copy for just £2.99!):

I think it’s about which doors you knock on… and who answers them.

I have a novel. I’ve written one. But I don’t know if it is one. It exists only for me — whatever it is.

Soon, it will have to be read.

I’m going through it for a third time with a fine-tooth comb…and a spade…and a shovel. But I don't know how sharp my tools are.

Which doors to knock on? Who will answer them?

Does anyone remember ‘Knocky Nine Doors’? — Knocking on strangers’ doors and running away? If you were really brave, you could spy on the door-openers from behind a hedge or a car.

Knock Knock. A middle-aged man would put down his can, press pause and press his spread out of his chair (his own special chair). He’d tuck his work-shirt that he couldn’t be bothered to change out of into his straining trousers, to look respectable, decent. To look like he wasn’t someone who spent his evenings watching TV, drinking lager. It could be a neighbour or a police officer or a politician. He’d appear at the threshold, ready, always ready...Nobody. Been made a fool of. The tucking pointless now. He could go back to his pointedly pointless evening. No, he wouldn’t leave it at that, couldn’t face that; he’d step out of the house. He’d saunter up to the gate, rest his hands on his belt and look both ways. He’d swivel round and check the roof — he wasn’t daft. On his way back to the door: “Morons”.

Knock knock. A bathing mother would force her teenage son out of his bedroom trance, shouting for him to get the door. He’d put down his phone, press pause and roll himself off his sofa which his mum had got for him but really for her. He’d slide down the staircase and skid to the front door. He’d run his hand through his hair to make it look even messier. To look like he wasn’t someone who sat at a desk doing homework. It could be a girl or a girl or a girl… Nobody. Just another irritating event in an already totally annoying life. He’d take a perfunctory glance up the street (up but not down) and as he pushed the door closed: “Mental”.

Knock knock. An old lady would rattle her china cup onto its saucer, place her magazine on the side-table and rock herself out of her armchair. She’d slipper-shuffle her way to the front door, thrilled at her luck; not only had she a brew on the go and fresh slices of (packet) ginger cake, she was wearing her pearls (she always wore them on her mother’s birthday). A mug or a cup? It would depend on who it was. Rare excitement. She’d straighten her blouse, to show she was smart and content. It could be a social worker or the priest or Stan… Nobody. She’d hold the frame of the door and call out in case she’d missed the visitor. She’d wait too long before closing the door and, as she'd shuffle back to her tepid tea… “Mammy”.

Disappointment. You’ve got to expect it. But just maybe when you expect it most — surprise. Or even when you expect it least… No pattern. I’ll have to knock on some doors soon. Not Mr Del Monte’s. And I’ll have to leave my baby (did I say baby?), sorry, manuscript on the doorstep. Can’t hang about to explain what I meant, what I want to say. Can’t meet their eyes and channel everything through a face — say with one look, “Would you like to know him? It’s all in here. You can read him in here.” Just the manuscript. Just words. Poor little words on their own, cowering and desperate. Yet, I think, bold and well-armoured too. Drawn, and saved in cyber caves too numerous to be sought and carved out.

So it matters not whether a printed copy finds a gruesome end. It’ll foil its destroyer by surviving in a bottom drawer, on a hard drive, on a memory stick, on a time-machine, in a cave.

Do I detect a smidgen of defensiveness here...? How do you ward against this? Should you? To what end, pre-empting rotten-tomato fallout?

[Here's the link to my *top ten Amazon best-seller* book (grab a copy for just £2.99!):


  1. Are you a fan of Martin Amis? Vaguely reminds me of some of his stuff

  2. Thanks a lot for comment. I must confess, I'm not sure that I've read any at all, but 'London Fields' is in my book queue. You've spurred me on to read it.