I have never smoked in my life but my parents, as a gift, have bought me a pipe. A really nice, smooth dark wood pipe. I’ll never use it for its purpose but that’s not the point. It shall be used, for my purpose. A very dear friend of mine bought me a pipe last year. A plastic toy one to fill a need that I had somehow created. Whilst joking around one day I felt that in order to emphasize my point, I needed some kind of hand held device. This item would not only push my point home, but also would ensure that my listeners would listen. Therefore, I decided that the only item I could think of which would give me this authoritative, distinguished air would be a pipe. Not really taking it seriously, and also due to a distinct lack of funds, I mimed the actions of holding a pipe for the following six months (did I tell you I was a competent method actor?), this then progressed onto fashioning a makeshift one out of a biro and a bulldog clip until one day. One glorious day my best friend came to see me with a present in her hand. Now that I had had this one for some time, my parents decided to mark the occasion of me completing my novel by presenting me with my very own bona fide pipe.
I’ve been working on my novel now for I’d say about four years on and off. In that time, its completely changed in terms of narrative and storyline but today marks Day One of that process. Do you know why? Well, because simply put until you start actually editing the draft you have in your hand (or on your computer) you haven’t finished anything. You haven’t made one single decision that will ultimately at least resemble the final product. Don’t get me wrong, its doubtful that any pre-edited work will take any final forms either; but this isn’t my first draft…..this is my fifth. I can safely say, hell I’ll brag about it gladly, that the cuts or additions I make now are more likely to actually stay cut, or stay in the final manuscript. So, as this is the first time I can say that – today is Day One….today is the day that I (metaphorically speaking, of course) smoke the pipe.