Sunday, September 12, 2010
Sea of Ghosts
Today I noticed that "Sea of Ghosts" is available for pre-order on the interweb. This is the first in a new fantasy series, which I've had the luxury of planning in advance. I have actually finished writing it, but it's not available until April next year, so you'd have to be a utterly mad to order it now. The story begins with a man compelled to imprison his own family, and then heads off on a high-seas adventure, dipping a toe into dragon territory, with a quick nod to Nikola Tesla. The wonderful cover art is by Larry Rostant.
I'm not in the best of moods, which is why I shouldn't be blogging, but is almost always the only reason why I end up blogging. I'm laid up at home right now, recovering from some minor surgery, and the constant day long, night long pain is starting to make me want to hit things. The television, mostly. After you've had bits cut out of you, the nurse asks you to describe pain on a scale of one to ten, ten being the most excruciating torment you can imagine, and one being – I don't know, stubbing your toe. Having come away from the ward with a box of paracetamol, I now really, really wish I hadn't said "four" at the time. If I'd said "eleven" they might have given me morphine. But here's the thing – everyone has a different experience of pain, so how do you quantify it? And if, like me, you're stupid enough to give the wrong answer, do you actually miss out on the really juicy drugs? I'm plagued by images of patients who came away with bags of Vicodin after barking out "ten". In my head, these are the same people who watch Jeremy Kyle.
My only real encounter with severe pain prior to this was a trapped nerve in my spine, which was such an absolute bastard of agony that I passed out. But that's not a ten. I've seen the footage of wounded soldiers flown back from Afghanistan. That's a ten. Being simultaneous roasted over an open flame, flogged, and electrocuted is a ten. That's the sort of thing I was thinking of, during my post anaesthetic haze, when I said "four".
I can't move very far without assistance, and I find it difficult to concentrate on reading or writing at the moment, so I've been watching more TV in the last few days than is good for the brain. During this time, I've somehow managed to develop a very real and profound hatred of confused.com. Adverts are created by evil people who think you are a moron. Usually they try to hide this fact as carefully as BT tries to hide the price of whatever product it is currently flogging. I find it bizarre, for an industry that is supposed to be creative, that so many adverts display a complete lack of imagination. How do the people who come up with them keep their jobs?
The thing that gets me about the particular assault from confused.com is that it is so utterly unimaginative it becomes patronising. What was the design meeting like?
"So, how do we sell this car insurance comparison product? It's not exactly exciting stuff. Let's have some blue-sky thinking, people."
The creative types are sitting around a table. They are wearing scruffy-chic, unconventional clothing, the odd burst of colour against a beige cardigan, striking print dresses. This sort of attire is encouraged, as is using terms like "blue sky". The men have short, quirky trimmed beards and thick-framed narrow rectangular glasses. The women wear identical glasses. There is a white board, a push-button coffee machine, and a funky red beanbag in the corner for when you just have to flop. On the wall are a series of black and white photographs of puddles.
"I've got it!" Florence says. "We can show people having fun, smiling and dancing in ecstasy as they celebrate the product."
Gareth looks up. He's trembling slightly. "Yes," he says. "Yes, yes, yes.. that will make the product appear exciting and, simultaneously, accessible to people. Get it on the white board."
Nods all round.
"Is that lunch, then?"
I don't know I despair more about the lack of creativity, or the fact that there are enough morons in this country who don't feel patronised and are actually persuaded to buy or use these products. Then again, maybe it's just the pain speaking. I have to stop watching TV.