Writing a book – even a cartoon book – is quite a bit different from cranking out a cartoon about the politics du jour. You are obliged to remain at least semi-coherent across a considerably greater concentration span and frankly it’s a lot of work. Cartoonists are the world’s greatest procrastinators and I consider myself pretty hot stuff in the gentle art of not starting until the deadline has whooshed past, but I may have met my match in Mr Dog. Anyway, we sent each other a lot of encouraging and extremely well-intentioned emails on the topic of what we were planning to write until we suddenly realised that we really had better write the thing at which point the cartoonists’ redeeming quality of Getting Things Done Remarkably Quickly came to the fore, with us only saying bloody hell I wish we’d started this a few months ago two or three times a day.
The strange thing is, I had actually started writing the damn book at least a dozen times before the Actual Start occurred, and my main difficulty was that my bloody mother kept inserting herself into the narrative. This was all the more remarkable because she died a year before the trip. She was in every respect an absolutely top-shelf mother, as I imagine most people’s mothers are, but I really didn’t think people wanted me taking my mum on a whisky tour, especially in her state of health, and nobody wants to hear a white middle-aged cartoonist banging on about his mother unless he’s lying on a couch and they’re getting paid at least four figures an hour for it.
Anyway, in the Actually Writing The Damn Book phase, I managed to avoid any maudlin urges until at 3 o’clock in the morning, after Finally Actually Finishing Writing The Damn Book, I decided to put in an extra couple of pages.
However, during the Trying To Remember How Indesign Works And Laying Out The Damn Book phase, I asked The Angel’s Share if, even in the context of this remarkably self-indulgent book, this extra day wasn’t a bit too self-indulgent and did it end the thing on a bit of a downer, to which she said yes. Exactly the answer I didn’t want to hear but the correct answer, which is one of the reasons I suckered her into marrying me.
So, here, on this blog, which is of course the pinnacle of self-indulgence, I give you The Missing Chapter. It’s a bit of a first draft, and doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the book, which is probably why it’s on the blog instead. Deal with it. There is another missing chapter (well a page Dog did) which I just forgot to put in, but I will leave that to him to reveal. It has a very nice drawing of a trout.
Just for the record, if mum was around I would have taken her along in a heartbeat. She would have loved it.
It’s coming out in about two weeks. If you pre-buy it, you can get it signed by me and the Dog.