The Dreaded ‘Between Projects’ Dip

a manuscriptYou people who always have three different book ideas on the go – the ones who have notebooks filled with plots that are straining at the leash and who never seem to be without something to work on – I envy you. I know you sometimes probably have more things to work on than you can cope with, but I bet you never have to suffer the between projects moment.

I mean, that moment when you realise the thing you’ve been working on for years is at a point where you’ve either finished it or you need to let it rest. The moment when you find yourself casting around for something to fill all the time you’ve been sinking into the same imaginary world for ages, when you look for the next big thing to keep yourself busy – and find there’s nothing there.

Not nothing. There are plenty of things there. It’s just you haven’t got a hold of any of them yet. You’re warily walking round the side of them, kicking the edges and wondering whether there’s enough in this idea to sustain you through a whole book. And it’s hard to know which one looks great on the outside but doesn’t have the guts you need or which crappy exterior is actually going to open up some amazing characters for you.

So you’re wandering around in a funk, trying to work out what you’re doing and remember who you were before you started the last big project. Reminding yourself that you felt pretty crappy then too, the last time this happened, and that somehow, you got over it then and you’ll definitely get over this between projects moment too.

“Literature’s like coke, music’s like heroin” says Iggy Pop

Well if anyone is qualified to muse about likenesses to addictive substances I suppose it’s Iggy. The 62 year old rock juggernaut shared this quip with AFP: “Literature’s like coke and music’s like heroin! Literature sharpens the mind, music stupidifies [sic]”

The subject came up as his new album is apparently inspired by Michel Houellebecq’s novel The Possibility of an Island, also titled Preliminaires for the French audience, but is it a fair one? Music stimulates, music inspires, it doesn’t make me want to sit in a corner drooling (with some important exceptions) and it’s not an art form that needs belittling; plenty of vapid pop stars do that for us.

On the other hand, if Iggy can boost the ‘cool factor’ of reading then it’s all for the greater good. Shame his recent car insurance adverts have stripped him of much of the punk ethos that made him attractive in the first place though. Oh well, throw in a few references to drugs and everyone will take notice again though huh?

I f anything I’d say music is more likely to produce the same effects or reactions as weed – slightly unpredictable feelings of well being, maniac giggles at songs that really, really, aren’t funny and total paranoia when you find you just don’t get what it is that everyone else seems to be listening to these days