the state of things

 

Lost Works

by Douglas Lindsay - 09:48 on 29 September 2010

Have been thinking about books that I've written and which have remained unpublished. Not sure why I started the thought process. Maybe I was thinking about being dead, and leaving a legacy of rubbish novels that someone, somewhere might read. Because I was dead. And, notwithstanding the fact that I've already published a bunch of potentially rubbish novels, there are a whole bunch more that have never seen the light of day.


Last night I dug around on the old computer disks to see how many of them have survived. I started writing in the mid-1990's on one of those Amstrad word processors that were built some time in the middle of the 15th century, and then sat around for several hundred years waiting for someone to invent electricity. Some of the books were written on that machine, some on an old PC that has since been decommissioned.


So, here is Part 1 of The Lost Works


The Manhattan Book


That wasn't actually the title. This truly is a lost work. Can't remember the title, don't have a copy of it on disk. It was about a writer sitting in his apartment in Manhattan, drinking copious amounts of alcohol during a protracted period of writer's block. On the first page he murders a prostitute, and then later has sex with the investigating police officer. Don't recall the ending, or much else about it, but I'm pretty sure it was as rubbish as it sounds. I sent it to a few publishers, then gave up extremely quickly, because not long after that I wrote what was to become The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson, so I had something better to pitch.


The Tarantino Version


The lead character was Barney Thomson in all but name. And job title. He was a rather dull teacher in a Glasgow high school, put upon by staff and pupils, while his wife had sex with everyone she could get her hands on, except him. The title came from the old play/movie The Browning Version, which was remade in the mid-90's with Albert Finney.

My Barney Thomson-esque character does not find redemption from literature, but from stumbling into the GFT in Glasgow, and watching Pulp Fiction. The movie transforms him, and he comes out to take charge of his life, liberally using the word motherfucker along the way.

If I remember correctly, this latter section of the book worked well and was good fun; the first two-thirds, however, were damned turgid, and the character was not written with enough skill in order for the reader to really care.

Having searched through the antediluvian technology of the day, the only trace I could find of the book was on a disk on which it had been once stored, but had long ago been deleted and replaced with something else. Another genuinely lost work.


The Fool Blue Christmas


Not entirely sure what was going on with the title. I wrote this novel in about a week and a half, sitting in my air conditioned cocoon in West Africa in late 1996. It was a kind of a romcom/caper sort of a book. More of a movie really, rather than a novel. A bloke in Glasgow becomes instantly besotted with some woman or other on Christmas Eve, and then follows her to Amsterdam while she smuggles diamonds or something. It was absolute pish. At the time I did not send it to any publishers, as I realised it wasn't worth the stamps on the envelope.

I have a disk containing the first half of it, but the disk with the second half has been deleted and replaced with something else. So all that remains is half of a piece of crap, and I shan't be getting it converted into modern day technology. Another lost one.


Tomorrow:


21 Years on the Back of Dixie Klondyke's Spanish Guitar, the original and unpublished Last Fish Supper and Changing States.


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