Sunday, 21 October 2012

It doesn't really sound like love, but it is, really.

So yeah, that blog I wrote a while back, saying I was blogging more? Let's kinda... ignore that.

In the past month, because it is a month, let's not beat around the bush, I have had a SHED LOAD on. It's like I've swapped lives with one of those proper people who need some sort of diary to keep tabs on what they're doing. And it's been lovely, and tiring. And it never happens. I'm not saying I'm a mega-loner, but ya know, I sort of am, a bit.

It's important for me to say right now that I've enjoyed the socialising I've spent the past month doing. I've not begrudged one moment spent catching up with my friends. You'll see why.

Being so busy and so often from home or in company of an evening and weekend has all meant that I've really struggled to work on the 2nd or whatever draft I'm on of the WiP. Until this week! So that's good. Back in the game! It feels better.

I was talking to someone about hard work, and about working towards an unlikely career. And I think writing is an unlikely career, really. Considering how many people are in the game, the state of the industry, etc. We were talking about how disheartening it can be when you work for a couple of years trying to break into your particular area, and never seem to get anywhere. And I thought about it, because it's important, and about what stops me from giving up.

Say you get an agent, that doesn't mean you'll get a publisher. You get published, your book in a shop, no guarantee that people will buy it, read it, or like it. No guarantee of your next book being published or successful, on and on for the rest of the career that could end after any book.

That's once you've actually written the book. And don't get me wrong, writing is a pain. You have an idea, and it's amazing. And you know it'll be great. So you let it gestate, and you begin to plot it, perhaps, and it's hard, actually, because plotting is a bitch, and then once all that's done and you've ironed all the problems out, you get to write it. Which is the fun bit, except you're in too deep to give up but you've realised that your idea wasn't necessarily that good, and to actually start writing is to uniformly ruin all that you visualised, because you can never transfer it into words how you imagined it. And you write, and write, and write, all the time worrying that you're wasting and have wasted hundreds of hours you could have spent on a proper career.

Then you finish your first draft. And I don't know about you, but I immediately hate it all. So you leave it for a week or two, but it's a stinking pile of mulch in the back of your mind. Then you read it again, and perhaps it's not so bad as you thought, but you know it needs work, and you get excited again, and you edit and edit, and then you get disheartened and edit some more. And lather, rinse, repeat.

And it's pain. Writing is hard, and nothing is guaranteed, and you put your soul out there, into your work. Every decision you make feels pivotal, and as though with one wrong step you could ruin your masterpiece. Which is never as good as it seemed to be when you lay awake all those months back and first glimpsed the possibilities.

But you know what, it doesn't matter. Because then you'll have one month as a break where you just don't have the time to write. And it'll hurt, almost physically, that you can't. And any spare time at work or on a journey where you don't have your laptop or notebook you'll begrudge the fact that you aren't spending the time usefully working. Maybe it'll never be published, and maybe nothing will come of it, but it doesn't matter. Because deep down, that's not why I write. There's the dream, of course, of the author display in the Waterstone's window. The feature in the Guardian. The interview on Radio 4. But that doesn't matter, and that's not why I do it. I do it because I have to, because if I don't, part of me will die. Does that make sense? It's love, so I guess it doesn't have to.

KHx

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

M&Ms and Horse Heads, Among Other Things

Soooo, it's been a while, hasn't it? And I've missed you all, probably at LEAST as much as you missed me. At the very least.

Let's see if we can remember how to do this thing. News! I got a new job! As of next Monday, I will be a Trainee Business Support Officer. Yes, Officer. But that's work, and this blog isn't for jobs, although general rejoicing is allowed.

In the past few months, I suppose a fair few things have actually happened, with varying levels of importance.   Let's be chronological, because without order, society will collapse, along with everything we hold dear.

I went to London, with adorable friend A to visit adorable friend B. It was so lovely, and a testament to the fact that not only do I not see them enough, but that there are some people whose friendship can stand up to time and is hardy enough to flourish without constant tending. I am very lucky in the friends I have, all of those who I visit with, email, phone, whatever.

But let's not get too emotional, because while in London, I visited the M&M shop. And it was the most surreal place in the world.
Yellow and I. Possibly the nearest I'll ever get to a knight.
We wandered about in a daze, overwhelmed by bright colour and larger than life statues. Occasionally one or other of us would mutter, "Who likes M&Ms this much?" or "How much are they charging for that?!" There is no need for an M&M shop like this. No need for a leather jacket studded with Swarovski crystals in an M&M design, and a steal at over £1000. And there were four floors of this crap. It was the most surreal place in the world - and the surrealism wasn't helped by the fact that when we went in, it was daylight, then dark when we came out.

Next news item, to swing erratically from subject to subject: I finished the first draft of my WiP! It's currently being beta-read by my dear writing buddy, and I anxiously await her critique, which is always bang on. I'm in the period where I slightly hate it, which is good I think, as it means I'll happily take any recommendations to improve it. I'm long past the stage where I think everything I write is pure, pure gold.

Strangely I have less to say about my WiP than the M&M place. Perhaps there is a need for a giant M&M shop after all.

AND FINALLY, I bought a rowing machine, which is hella fun, and a possibly glass horse head. Best £20 I've ever spent, and I think you can tell it really classys up the joint.
Ya know, compared to the laundry in the background.
So there we have it. Aren't you glad I'm back!?

KHx

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Going Hiaitial. Hiatial. ON HIATUS.

Is what this blog is doing. Going on hiatus, that is. I wish hiatial was a word, really I do. So, ya know, get on that, somebody?

But to get to the crux of the matter, I'm writing. I've set myself the schedule of writing at least 1000 words a day, which I don't know, does that sound like a lot? It feels doable at the moment, but only because I've completely overhauled my routine. So in order to keep up with doing that, and doing all the stuff that's coming my way over the next few weekends, I'm suspending the blog for the next... two months? It's until I've finished my first draft so 2 months... that's 60K. So, yeah, two months it is. Unless something really exciting and awesome happens, in which case, eyes here, y'all.

I'll still be tweeting and such though, so if you want more words that don't exist but ought to, see the side bar for links!

I'll still update my progress bar at the side, because PRIDE, PEOPLE.

I envy and applaud those people who can write and blog and tend to children and cook meals and maintain loving relationships and hold down a 9 to 5. Sometimes I imagine myself working with an automaton-like efficiency, getting everything done within allotted times and then skipping through fields in a chintzy pinafore. But it never works. So for now, while I get my head down and write, go to work, and draw (for Thought Bubble), something's gotta give, and the blog is it. FOR NOW. I'll see you in September. Promise.

Or maybe earlier. If something awesome happens.

But probably September.

KHx

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Pigeons!

I thought I'd mentioned the pigeons on the balcony before, but since my find:pigeon search came back with nothing, I guess I didn't!

SO. News. Pigeons on the balcony! Two wood pigeons kept hanging around on our balcony looking shifty and as though they were wanting to poo on Nicholas' bike. After a few weeks, we realised they'd left a pile of twigs.

I was all; Nicholas, they're building a nest! We have new friends!
Nicholas was all; don't be stupid Katherine, why would they do that?! We're on the fifth floor and there's a bike and rust and a broken fish tank light out there.
Then I was all; OMG THERE ARE EGGS.

And three weeks later, these guys happened.
It's been something of a heatwave recently (not that you'd know it with all the rain we've been having), which has been been a pain since the balcony door is our one and only source of light and air. But we've not really minded. The eggs hatched into two freaky looking little chicks, with massive, oversized beaks that looked like plague masks. The picture above is when they were about a week old, taken by Nicholas, using his super amazing camera and mad skillz.

Yesterday, about 3 weeks after hatching, we saw them fly for the first time. It was awesome. I felt a bit teary. One chick has since returned to the nest, but they're on the way out now. I think I'm going to miss them quite a bit. Although chicks feeding is really gross. I won't miss that.

In separate news, today is my birthday! Yay! Have some cake.

KHx

Monday, 25 June 2012

T-shirts and logos and mess.

Some weeks ago, you may recall me mentioning briefly and in passing that my website had been redone (ha!). Well I promised to shut up about it and I do honour that, but in related news, I had new photos done by Mr Dishington for the header and splash page. In them I'm wearing a t-shirt with my new, rotatable logo on, which I designed and painted, because there's nothing like making a bit of extra work for yourself. 

Seriously, this is the most you see of it.
In the end the logo didn't play that big a part in my site design, but I took a few making-of pics, just in case you were interested, and because it was stupidly easy to make a (theoretically) washable, (theoretically) professional-looking t-shirt. 
This is also a picture of the mess in our flat.
Having spent hours, nay, days, nay, weeks agonising over the logo design, I bought a cheapo men's t-shirt from Primark. I got a small, which was a baggy fit because I didn't want there to be any distortion/stretch/cracking of the logo. Having printed off the design in the right size on a piece of A4, I made a light box (read: put a lamp under a glass table) and traced the image in pencil
Thusly.
Next I painted it in some black acrylic. THAT'S IT. I told you it was easy. Perhaps I just like overcomplicating things, but when I started thinking about doing this t-shirt, I was imagining I'd need special paint to make it washable, but good old Google proved me wrong.
Woooaaaaah, we're half way there...
Admittedly, I haven't actually washed it yet, and I imagine it'll degrade over time whether I wash it or not, but still. Worth a pop on a rainy day!
Artsy shot.
KHx

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Bookends and Haggis

I've just got back from the Women, Sex and History panel event, which was part of the Leeds Big Bookend Festival, and featured four historical novelists: Jane Borodale, Gabrielle Kimm, Hallie Rubenhold and Anne O'Brien. It was brillo! It lasted about an hour but it seemed to go a lot more quickly. It was lovely to hear directly from successful novelists who were so knowledgeable in their field. Ah Katherine, maybe one day.

If you do ever get the opportunity to go to any author panel events, I would highly recommend them. I've been to a Jane Austen one before, while I was working on my dissertation, and it was so illuminating. Today I learned some interesting things about limes, too. A win all round!

In other news, haggis. Boyfriend has wanted to try some for a while, and I was more than happy to participate in my own way. I had a veggie version which was essentially a nut roast without the egg to bind it.  Gorgeous. Boyfriend went the whole hog (pardon the expression) and had real and actual haggis. He reports that it was very meaty... We had them with neeps and tatties... and Yorkshire puddings. I came home to it all being dished up and we ate it by candlelight, because Boyfriend is lovely. Haggis: the food of love. You heard it here first.

And finally, a writing round-up: Progress - slow. But I've put a word count progress bar at the left hand side of this blog. Hopefully that should embarrass me into getting on!

KHx

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Holidayeeee

So obviously, pig out time.
As we've been on holiday this week, I made a festive (?) lazy, banoffee sundaes. Because everyone should, y'all. It was mooshed up chocolate chip cookies, chocolate syrup, sliced banana (because banana is tolerable in such a mess as this) and canned caramel, topped with a large amount of limp squirty cream. I think my squirty cream was broken as it was too close to the back of our temperamental fridge and got a bit frozen. It was never the same again :(

I'm one for sweets, and the sweeter the better but THIS. This I couldn't even finish in one sitting it was so sweet. Lovely, though. It's been a bit of a holiday for making stuff I suppose, as we've also done rum punch, pizzas with dough balls and garlic butter, and some mega soup. It's been wonderful having the time to put into making stuff without feeling rushed, but unfortunately it's back to work on Monday:(

As well as cooking, the boyfriend and I visited the National Media Museum in Bradford, watched Hubble 3D on the IMAX (amazeballs) and saw Snow White & the Huntsman. I also managed to actually finish plotting and get started (slightly) on actual writing. Yay! So it's been busy, but now it's almost over:( SAD TIMES.

KHx

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

In Which Plotting is... Done?

I defy you to find a more related image. 
It's been a busy weekend and a busy past few days which, coupled with the MASSIVE HEAT, means I've been rolling around in a sweaty stupor, struggling to get things done. But I have have persevered and...

I did *some* plotting.

I've already sketched out the bare bones of the story and beefed it up a bit, so the plotting remaining is details. But I don't know that I'm especially comfortable with too many details so early on. So I gave it a go, looked at spread-sheeting and so on, but frankly, I just want to start writing.

I'm not a one for big, in-depth plans. I mean in theory, yeah. But in practice, no. I like to mix pantsing and planning. So it wasn't working for me. I've written several full-length manuscripts now, but I'm definitely still finding my feet with how I work.

But before I start writing I still want to do character worksheets. These details are, I think, really important. I use those 100 questions sheets, and like to cast my characters with people I've seen in the street or film stars or whoever. This is a pretty popular method I think, and gives me a really clear picture of my character to work with. I've already started this, and just have a few characters left to do. I really can't wait to get started writing again, and I hope to have everything to go ready in time for the long bank holiday weekend. Hopefully then I can find something more exciting to blog about!

Image.... Related? LOL.
KHx

Friday, 25 May 2012

In Which Plotting Does Not Occur

I'm indecisive, as it happens. Every day the boyfriend and I go through the "No, but what do you want to do this evening?" rigmarole, and often end up tossing a coin to decide what we're having for tea, or what films to watch, and so on. Which is quite nice, really, if you like the idea of randomly generated leisure time.

So plotting is something of a struggle for me, and I'm unwilling to surrender the future of my WiP to the coin toss. I've been plotting this one on and off for months, and I did a post-it note wall before Christmas. Queries and edits and other stuff kept pushing it back, but now I have no excuse. Plotting must be done! It shall be done! But while I have the basics lined up, I'm struggling with the fine-tuning. Like changing time scales slightly, moving characters around and, dare I say, committing to something that may turn out awful.

But I'm just going to have to get over it. I can't wait to start writing, but I want the bones down first and it's easier to put it off than risk doing it wrong. I've been beating myself up about it ever since I finished the website, and trying to guilt-trip myself into working, BUT THEN I came across this:
Source: Google, Tumblr, Twitter, I couldn't find any that weren't captioned 'I found this somewhere'...
If you did it, (the original photo) you're awesome and I want you to have credit. If anyone knows, tell me and I'll update!
Mark Ruffalo really wants you to write as he wants you to be happy. Chris Evans believes you can do it if you just put your mind to it. Robert Downey Jr wants you to get on with it so you can go for a drink after. And Chris Hemsworth has a sneaking suspicion he's in some of those scenes you're going to be writing, if you know what he means...

So today, I've left my book at home and will be spending my lunch break PLOTTING. For the Avengers. If not THE WORLD.

KHx

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

It's done!

Well I finished my website (yay!), so now my brain feels empty of planning and worrying. So it's lucky, really, that I can resume the planning of and worrying about my next WiP. I do enjoy a good worry.

But before we move on, because I think we're probably both a little tired of CONSTANTWEBSITENEWS, I'd just like to mention that the three short stories which were available previously are available still, but now can be downloaded as pdfs with snazzy new covers, under Free Stuff.

  
Snazzy.

In the interests of branding and whatever, I've called them The Life Collection (pretentious, moi?) which are the sister group to THE DEATH COLLECTION (evil laugh) that I'll be designing and printing up for the forthcoming shop and the Thought Bubble Festival. They'll be in a limited run and hopefully adorable, and I duno, signed? Does anyone want my signature? Don't answer that. But I'll probably be gluing stuff to some of them to make them extra special. So more on that as and when, probably.

I'll be adding more things to the Free Stuff tab over the next few months, like bookmarks and stuff. Which is pleasantly non-specific.

Finally, the Books and About Me tabs. Look! I got an agent! Iknowright. One of those things I never thought would happen, and don't quite believe now it has. But I'm delighted to say that the lovely Drea at The Rights Factory now represents my novel. Is it bad to call it a novel when it isn't actually published? Should it be manuscript? Words? I digress. Yay!

Anyway, I guess I'd better get on with all that worrying.

KHx

Friday, 18 May 2012

Work in Progress

Yeah, sorry it's a bit of a mess around here at the moment. I've been going crazy with CSS and embedding and all sorts, trying to fit my blog into my new website layout. It's been hard. But, after much googling, I think it's right. So once everything is done and ready for uploading, the blog won't look like such a mess. I promise. And hope...

All being well, we should be ready to roll early next week. Yay!

KHx

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

ZOMG Peanut Butter Shortbread

I've been thinking for a while about making what I'm going to call *ZOMG Peanut Butter Shortbread*. Because, ZOMG, peanut butter shortbread!

So last night I decided to bite the bullet and risk ruin and embarrassment by badly adapting a standard shortbread recipe myself. This is the basic recipe I started with, but nice as shortbread is, surely it can't help but be improved by the addition of peanut butter? And what wouldn't be? Actually, don't answer that. 

I ended up going off piste on a lot of the recipe, as you'll see, but that was mainly down to my Old Mother Hubbard style cupboards. Despite having planned this for a few days, prepared, I was not. 

The recipe called for 125g of butter, so I substituted 25g of that with chunky peanut butter. I'm all over unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter at the moment, which is just blitzed up roasted peanuts with nothing else added. *Delicious*. I used brown sugar rather than caster, which I think upped the sweetness, so I didn't miss anything using unsweetened peanut butter. Also it was what was in the cupboard... 
It made a nice and easily roll-able dough, despite the nutty chunks, and I had fun breaking in some Christmas themed cutters that Boyfriend bought me about three years ago.

Rotate head 90 degrees clockwise for optimum viewing.
It looked a bit like a gingerbread dough in the end, and I had to restrain myself from eating the scraps! I tried a little though - you know, for important and necessary tasting business...

Out of focus but delicious. 
I stuck a couple of dark chocolate chips on top, because *yummy* and then dusted with more brown sugar (no icing sugar in the house), then after a chilling in the fridge for 20 minutes they were good to go!

That's not glare from the foil, that's the glow of awesome.
I didn't do a head count on how many it made, and those Christmas trees were barely bigger than an inch, but it made three small trays worth of various sizes.
Unflattering close-up.
They're a bit overcooked, I think. Some of them were nearer hard than crunchy, but I'm going to blame that on my dodgy oven. But still, we ate them all within the hour!

I'll definitely make them again, although the recipe needs more tweaking. The peanut butter flavour was more subtle than I'd have liked, so I'll up it to 50g next time, and also mix chocolate chips in with the dough rather than sticking them on top! And also, lower the cooking time to about 15 minutes. But still, YUM.

It was all excellent fuel (I'll admit, I ate about two thirds of them!) for the crazy website slog I did after. I'm still working on the redesign, and managed to get ALL of the coding done in 2.5 hours. I used Dreamweaver, which takes care of a lot of the more complicated stuff, but it was surprisingly enjoyable trying to figure out stuff like blog embedding and RSS feed links. Google is amazing in that respect, though! All I need to do now is get the content sorted and do some illustrations for a few download links. Should definitely all be done over the next week or so, and I can't wait to show you!

KHx

Friday, 11 May 2012

This weekend will be AMAZEBALLS

No particular reason, but I've suddenly been struck with joy. It's probably the tea. Boyfriend emailed me and mentioned that we ought to get some strawberries and cream to eat at some point, and despite my dislike of cream, (what's the point of it?) I was off.

I'm getting really into cooking at the moment. We made a gorgeous nut roast last week (recipe by Mary McCartney) and this weekend we're doing a massive stew. And since I have a loaf tin from the nut roast, I figured, why not make some bread? So that's on the agenda for this weekend too, and I'm so excited! Excited beyond reason. It's just bread, Katherine, people have been making it for ages.

Since Mr Dishington mentioned strawberries I remembered we have some in the freezer and thought hey, I could make strawberry sorbet! Or strawbet sorbet. Or strawberry sorberry. CALM THE HELL DOWN, KATHERINE.

In sensible news, I'm building a new website at the moment, and am eager to get on with it. This weekend I have nothing to stop me. I'm tired of ink splats, and want something a bit prettier. I look forward to showing you it soon, as I hope to have it all sorted by the end of the month. For a sneak peek of what it'll look like, visit my Twitter page.

Hope your weekend is amazeballs!

KH x

UPDATE: Bread!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Thought Bubble Festival

Long time no post! Usual excuse, but look! Some stuff!

Next November is the Thought Bubble Festival, which is a comic book festival based in Leeds. After thinking about it for a couple of years, Mr Dishington and I have booked out a table and will be selling comics and posters and all sorts of exciting things! I'm also going to be re-doing the website over the next few months and including a shop for a few more illustration-based ventures.

These pictures are preliminary cover images for the short stories I've had published on Ether Books. I'll be printing up some hard copy booklets for them and, all being well, they'll be on our stall come November. It's been lovely to get back into the drawing and illustration,as well as re-acquainting myself with my good old friend Photoshop.

More news, as and when! Happy Easter!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Phaethon, a tribute to Jeremy Kyle.

When I was a student, and I first started applying myself to this writing thing, I started writing short stories. When I was a student, I also watched a lot of Jeremy Kyle. I think you can see what's coming here.

I was rooting through my old short story folder for the original .docs of some pubbed shorts, and came across Phaethon. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever written, and I buried it and forgot about it. Now, 3 years later, I think it's time to share it with you.

Here's the story it's based on, for reference.


“Abandoned by my Dad before I was born - now I’m in trouble he wants a DNA test.”

‘My next guest is a young man who, at just sixteen, has already been in trouble with the law, and even the Gods. He’s here today to confront the father who abandoned him and his mother before he was born. Let’s unravel this; please give a big welcome to Phaethon!’

audience applause.

‘Hey.’

‘Welcome to the show - take a seat, mate. Now, it’s a shocking headline, this one. “Abandoned by my Dad before I was born - now I’m in trouble he wants a DNA test.” Tell us a little bit about this.’

‘Erm, well it’s like, when I was born, my dad wasn’t there, and my mum brought me up and when I was like, fourteen, she told me he was Phoebus-Apollo and that.’

‘So your dad walked out on your mum when she was pregnant? I mean, did he know she was pregnant?’

‘Err, I’d’v thought he’d’v figured, I mean she says he didn’t use nothing.’

‘And yet he doubts he’s your father? What does your mum say about this; does she have any doubts?’

‘Nah, like she says she was right shocked when she found out cos like all he did was come to her in like a shower of gold and then she was pregnant and she never even shagged anyone ever.’

‘Has there been anyone for her since, have you ever had a father figure?’

‘Nah, she cant stop crying now so I reckon that puts blokes off and that.’

‘Brave lady. So you’ve never had a father figure? Well I suppose that could explain how you ended up in trouble - tell me what happened next.’

‘Well like once she’d told me who he was I went looking for him didn’t I? And I found him in this golden palace-’

‘A golden palace? And he’s never paid child support? That’s despicable.’

‘Yeah, it was well big and he had this crown with bits of sun on so I reckon he was doing right well for himself, ya know? So I says nobody believes he’s my dad cos they think me and me mum are scum, ya no, and if people knew he was my dad then I’d get more respect, int it?’

‘Your dad is a respected figure. Tell us what he does exactly.’

‘Well he’s a god I guess.’

‘Phoebus-Apollo, god who pulls the sun across the sky, controls the day and the night, is that right?’

‘Yeah. When me Mam told me that me dad was a god I thought it’d be Zeus, ya know? Because I know a few he’s fathered, like. He was big at the time weren’t he?’

‘So what did he say when you approached him? Did he have any qualms then about being your biological father?’

‘Nah, he said it was grand and he was happy for people to know I was his, right? But I knew nobody would believe me unless he gave me like some proof, ya know?’

‘Almost a public declaration?’

‘Yeah like that.’

‘And what did he say?’

‘He said that was fine. And whatever I wanted to do, ya know, he was happy for it. Asked me what I wanted him to do.’

‘So he’s gone from being fine with it to denying you’re his son? What went wrong?’

‘To be honest, I couldn’t tell you. I dunno, he’s just suddenly changed, you know?’

‘Well, let’s get to the bottom of this, Apollo is here, let’s bring him out!

applause. some audience members boo before disintegrating into nothingness and dust.

‘Welcome to the show, Apollo, take a seat.’

‘Hello. Well first of all I have to say, he’s talking rubbish, he hasn’t told you the half of it, he hasn’t.’

‘Is it not true you never paid a penny of child support?’

‘Well, I-’

‘And you abandoned him and his mother before he was born?’

‘Now look here, I’ve got a full time job haven’t I? It’s very difficult for me to get time off and I don’t get paid as such, there are just compensations, like divinity and that.’

‘But you have a golden palace! Let me tell you, I may not be divine but there is nothing, NOTHING I wouldn’t do to make sure my kids were supported.’

audience applause. some whooping.

‘It’s not that easy - as I’m a divine being I don’t have access to money. She never came and told me she was pregnant, you know. I didn’t find out about the lad until he turned up on my doorstep.’

‘Your golden doorstep?’

‘My doorstep is golden, yes. But since I found out about him I’ve tried to do my bit, you know. I got in contact with his Mum to see what I could do for her but I couldn’t talk to her. She wouldn’t stop crying.’

‘That’s your fault that is, Dad.’

‘Can you counter that accusation?’

‘That I can. He’s not told you what it is he’s done.’

‘Go on.’

‘Don’t ask him th-’

‘You’ve had your say, let your dad, if he is your dad, have his. Go on.’

‘Well it was like he said, he comes to me and says “Dad I need you to do something so I’ve got proof and people believe I’m your son”, so I says what do you want me to do? Cos I’m keen to make up for the lost time, you know? So he says he wants to drive the sun across the sky, doesn’t he? Which I can’t really let him do, you know. So he has a tantrum, doesn’t he, that he can’t get his own way, and so being as how I feel guilty for not being there, you know, I give in and let him. So I give him advice on what to do cos it’s tricky you know, the horses pull hard and you’ve got to be on the ball to control them.’

‘And did he listen?’

‘No, he was just sighing and yawning and looking at the horses. I should’ve known
then he’ll be trouble but like I say, I felt right guilty, you know? Well he jumps in and I swear he sets off at a right pace, faster than he should, and I told him to stick to the straight path East to West but he thinks he knows better, you know? Goes haring off all over the place and pretty soon the horses bolted and were going all over the shop.’

‘Then what happened?’

‘Well he went too close to earth and now there’s deserts and stuff where there weren’t before.’

‘What else?’

‘Well there’s crops and fields and woods on fire, and oceans drying up, you know? People dying and that, and nothing I can do from where I was. Ends up setting himself on fire, he does, calls out and wakes up Zeus. Zeus gets cross, understandably I reckon, and knocks the carriage over, the boy here falls out, down to earth and into a river, and dies.’

‘You’re dead? You never mentioned that before.’

phaethon looks sheepish.

‘Well, ya know, I was upset, weren’t I?’

‘We’ve all been badmouthing your father and it’s true, he wasn’t there when you were young but you know what? What you did was worse than that. You lied to the show, Phaethon. You lied to my researchers. And you, Apollo, I’m not saying you aren’t responsible. If you’d been there in this kid’s life from the beginning then this would probably never have happened.’

‘If he’s mine, you know?’

‘Well, we’ll soon find out. So what were the repercussions of this?’

‘Me? Ah, well, as I say, the kid over there’s dead now and the famine and deserts and whatnot. But then once he’s dead in this river, his Ma and his sisters keep crying, sisters get turned into weeping willows they cry so much, you know.’

‘Your sisters are weeping willows? You never mentioned any of this before, young man. And my researchers tell me that your friend is now a swan because he kept diving down to see you in this river you fell into. What do you have to say about that?’

‘Well, if me dad had been there, ya know?’

‘It’s time for those all important DNA results. If it turns out he is your son, Apollo, you’re going to have to accept this is at least partially your responsibility. Here we go.’

a hush descends.

‘It says here that Apollo….. IS the father of Phaethon.’

audience applause and whooping. phaethon’s mother can be seen weeping. apollo puts his head in his hands.

‘Don’t look so surprised, Apollo! It’s time you started acting like a father to this poor kid. Our team backstage are ready to help both of you sort this out, but next time you decide to turn into a shower of gold on a woman, put something on the end of it!’