(I had a huge, mind-blowing, world-changing breakthrough in the past couple of days, have a few bits written down but just want to savour it for a while, let it bubble in my head before posting anything – this is basically the grand unifying theory of my entire story-universe, explaining everything, from life and death to the magic system and Gods and ghosts and reality and unreality and time and space, it’s huge. I may need to scribble on sticky-notes and then scan them in, but for now I’m just getting it down in big random chunks. So in the meantime, a little rambling is in order.)
I’ve decided to try to create a very short documentary-style video, ten minutes or so, to throw onto YouTube at some point. It will basically explain how Arsebook came about, what I experienced and what I decided to do about it, and what I’m hoping to achieve with this silly book. The centrepiece, of course, is going to be some video footage of me sauntering into Helsinki in my unflattering superhero spandex, and walking around giving away free copies of Arsebook and basically being an attention-whore. Hopefully it will be funny, I’m almiost certain it will be memorable either way.
And it’s for a good cause. I’m constantly staggered at the idea that a book that will actually help save you from bowel cancer doesn’t seem to be something people are all that interested in reading, but this has always been the way. Even without the crass name and silly theme, there’s a powerful psychological aversion to the whole idea of preventative medicine and physical check-ups. I’ve known about various things I could have done to stop my own cancer before it took hold, but did I pay any attention? No I did not. Did I ignore all the effort other people had put in, and still get cancer? Yes I did.
Did I get what I deserved? Well, let’s not go nuts. Cancer’s nasty, the treatment almost as bad as the disease, and nobody really deserves it. Although fair to say I could have avoided it, and that shit’s my fault and my responsibility, just like it’s everyone’s own responsibility to take care of themselves. Which nobody really wants to worry about, and invariably makes you sound like a nagging old fart if you try to tell people about it, but I’ll take one for the team there. Maybe dressing in spandex will make it less sanctimonious and dull.
Well anyway, now the shoe’s on the other foot and it’s my turn to shout into the storm, and despair of ever being listened to. But I’ll do it. Because I think we have it in us to beat cancer, and I want to do more than my fair share, out of a classic human feeling of vindictiveness against this non-anthropomorphic thing that hurt me. I’ve already put my body, my genes and my dignity on the line, so what the heck?
I haven’t discussed it with him yet, but I’m hoping Mr. Bloom might be interested in collaborating briefly on the documentary. It’s only going to be short, like I say, could be done pretty much in one sitting with a handycam (plus the entertaining jaunt into Helsinki), and I think it’ll be fun. I also intend to tap a couple of as-yet unutilised resources in making this as public and entertaining as possible. Mrs. Hatboy’s suggested tipping off the Helsinki news magazines to see if we can generate a story, so more advice about that would be welcome. Maybe even a flash mob could be arranged.
I’m probably going to want to be good and drunk before I attempt any of this.
As to the documentary script: the more I thought about it, the more I realised how compelling the parallels between my story and that of my comic book inspiration have been. Sure, I’m a mercenary writer rather than a plain old mercenary, but there are definite connections, which we can build into a funny origin story, while skirting the jagged reefs of copyright infringement. Plus, obviously, there’s the whole cancer element, and the numerous hilarious batterings, injuries and healings I have endured since.
Now if I could just get our Espoo office to officially rename itself “The Hellhouse”, that would be perfect.