Procrastinatin’ with Dolly Parton


After I read ‘The City’ at the start of the month, I dutifully popped over to Goodreads, clicked into my ‘Currently Reading’ shelf—ignored the Stephen Donaldson book I’ve been half-reading since November—and marked Stella Gemmell’s solid debut novel as ‘Read’. While I was there, I thought I’d check the progress on my Reading Challenge for 2014. I’d set myself the relatively low target of thirty books for the year. So far I had read one.


In six months.

I know some authors who have written more books in that time.

I’ve spent so long working on my own book—at the same time trying to get my life onto an even keel after a turbulent prior couple of years—that I’ve completely neglected to do one of my favourite things.

As luck would have it, I’ve recently been sent a load of books to read and review, so I don’t really have a choice but to up my Reading Game now. With that in mind, I’ve just burned through five books in six days and, of course, having read them, I now need to go on and review the ruddy things. Sounds easy enough, but sometimes I can only just vomit up two blog posts in a month.

This’ll be fine, though, I’m sure.

Totally fine.

I bet.

I’m supposed to be writing a review now, as it happens, but instead I’m watching Dolly Parton’s set at Glastonbury on iPlayer and writing this post lamenting that I’m supposed to be writing another post. This is the blogging equivalent of sitting down at your desk to start work and—OH SHIT THE HOUSE NEEDS HOOVERING I’D BETTER DO THAT NOW THIS WORK CAN WAIT!

The review I wrote for The City was the first of several I should be writing. The book I should be reviewing at this very minute (exclamation mark) is ‘A Sudden Light’ by Garth Stein—a nice book, by the way—but how am I supposed to do that when Dolly Parton is strutting around in a white rhinestone-studded outfit and belting out songs into a GOLD MICROPHONE? It’s not possible. I’d love to be able to write that review now, but what can I do? I’m just one man.


I mean, I could have written it earlier, I suppose, instead of making some peppermint creams, but I absolutely, definitely needed to make those peppermint creams. Because of. And. So that’s why.

I will, of course, get onto writing that review, and the others that are to follow, soon (I just finished ‘The Girl With all the Gifts’, which was excellent even if it was written in present tense *shudder*). Mostly because, if I don’t, I think people will stop sending me free books. And I love free anythings.

I also have the small matter of finishing my own novel to contend with. I’ve had the most recent set of notes dumped unceremoniously in my lap, so I need to start on those very soon. Like now, probably. It’s actually the thing that I was supposed to be starting tonight before I decided I’d put that off by writing the review of A Sudden Light before I decided I’d put that off by writing this post before I decided to delay writing this post by watching Dolly Parton.

But what can I do? She’s singing ‘I Will Always Love You’ and I’m mouthing, ‘Thank you, that means ever so much to me, Dolly,’ back at her and gently stroking the television as a single tear rolls down my cheek, because she and I can never be; Dolly with her successful career in music and television, the eight Grammy awards, the two Oscar nominations, the ten Country Music Association awards, the millions of dollars, the millions of adoring fans, the theme park, the voice, the guts to wear whatever the hell she wants, and a self-deprecating wit that charms virtually everyone she meets — me with a tub of peppermint creams.

She’s gone now. The set is over. One of the Radio 1 people started making mouth-words and I trampled my television into dust. With no more distractions, I should probably finish this post and then start working on that review for A Sudden Light.

S’basically bedtime now though, innit, and I’m a bit sad about Dolly. Shouldn’t write when I’m sad. I’ll probably do that review tomorrow.


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