I have been at Clive's house for 6 weeks or so, and there's another couple of weeks to go. Patrick the giant dog looks normal now, and other dogs appear to have shrunk. Oddly, this is only noticeable with dogs. Cats are the same size.
I am living in a sharp valley, running north south, a geological trench carved out by the Sava River. The sun appears late over the eastern side and disappears early, giving me only a few hours of autumn sunshine before the temperature falls dramatically. It's like Mars, where the temperature difference is rapid, the dogs look small and the cats are the same size (I'm guessing).
But here's the thing. I'm only 10km away from Bohinjska Bistrica, yet everything is different. My work ethic has changed, my sleeping patterns, my view of things. Moving a few kilometres down the road has really stirred up the pot.
Try it. Not here, obviously, because Clive wouldn't like it and a dog the size of a baby hippo isn't to everyone's taste, but if you wake up in the morning and think "Same old same old," just swap houses with a friend on the other side of town. A month later you'll be bursting with creativity and renewed optimism.
I work all day on a laptop – something I thought wasn't possible considering I draw for a living, but vital if I want to become truly mobile – and it's working out beautifully. I sit on an old kitchen chair at an old kitchen table, and an ancient laptop I was going to junk has been resurrected into a youtube entertainment system. I've completely reworked my environment to fit the new surroundings and it's caused me to think differently, which is a good thing.
Yesterday I was thinking about writing again. I like to write. It makes me happy, but sadly, it doesn't make me any money. Drawing is a job, it pays the bills, and for a year or so I've been concentrating on that. But I miss the written word and I'm thinking that my new-found buoyancy can find the time to do it. Take it seriously again, like when I wrote The Midlife of Dudley Chalk.
While pondering, I got an email. Back when I lived in Greece I kept a diary, a bit like this blog but with a devil-may-care lunacy to it. I saw a competition for creative non-fiction. It was free, so I entered it. I shared first place. It gave me the confidence to send off other parts of my Greek scribbles and I got published. I still have a scan of the first cheque.
The email was from the competition organizer. He wondered if I was the Peter Lamb who wrote the piece some 14 years ago, and could he re-publish it in their weekly reader? I'll give you a link when he sends it.
It was a good email. It reminded me that I should be writing. Trouble is, I don't make any money from it. I think I've spent more than I've made. Amazon etc. don't pay until you make a threshold amount in each currency, so when I sold a book last month to Australia, the money won't be added to the Dollar pile, or the Pound pile, or the Euro pile. So far I haven't seen a penny. Well, not true. I did get a cheque from Audible but it went to Sarah and I told her to keep it due to the enormous hassle. But you get the idea. Working for my own amusement isn't sensible when I'm still in survival mode.
My free audio version of The Wonderful World of Linus Bailey has had over 20,000 downloads, but the really good version, up for sale on Audible, has been bought precisely 3 times. They set the price, and it's too high for a 4 hour audio-book. I also made a 10 hour audio version of The Midlife of Dudley Chalk, but Audible turned it down because of a slight hiss that I can't hear. So it sits on my hard drive, doing nothing. I can't remove a hiss I can't hear.
So here's a decision. It took 6 months to make the audio book and it seems a shame for it to be lounging about, so I'll put it up on this site under the “pay-what-you-want” model. So that's free, unless you're moved to send me something. If it gets 20,000 downloads and 1 in a thousand give me a dollar, I'll have $20! Which is $20 more than I've made so far. If it makes more than that, I might put all my work on here and see if I can generate some income. For the ebooks I'd need to buy an ISBN at $125 a pop, so lets see what the audio-book does. I might put Linus Bailey, the one currently on Audible on here too.
I'll do it before my Greek story is re-published. Who knows, I might even do it now. I'm in the mood. Things are going well. I'm on the old wooden chair and the garbage laptop is entertaining me with Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
Oh, I've just been out with the dog and I took a picture of the house from the other side of the river. Who wouldn't want to write.
Oh take 2. Here's the first chapter of Linus, and the first chapter of Dudley. In the next day or so I'll put up the whole lot. For free (or $20,000, your choice, no pressure). Please give me some feedback on the pay-what-you-want idea. It seems mad for things to sit, invisible, when it takes so long to create them. And if I make any money at all I'll feel like writing is worth the time.
The Wonderful World of Linus Bailey, Intro and Chapter 1. (4 hours total, on sale at audible.com for almost $15.)
Linus has an over-active imagination. When the amusing nonsense he's ever made up comes true, it takes him on a life-threatening adventure that causes him to re-evaluate what's important.
The Midlife of Dudley Chalk, Intro and Chapter 1 (10 hours total)
An unusual love story...
[ps...Have you tried the Armchair Detective Challenge yet?]
Slovenia, writing, other things