This Week I Have Been Mostly… Doing Book Stuff

Last week, I left you on kind of a philosophical note. The retreat really made me think, and in some ways it was really hard to face up to some things I feel about my life at the moment. I say ‘was’, but I don’t want to put it like that. There’s such a temptation to feel like all battles are won after a good week, but it’s important to keep pushing for what you believe your life should be.

Having said that, I felt like I nailed every day this week. It started off well: I watched Maidentrip on Netflix, about Laura Dekker, the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the globe sailing, and immediately made a note to learn to sail (more on that at some point this year ;) ). I called my friend Andy and had a good, healthy, emotional chat. I’ve been feeling a little down about guys lately, so it was nice to talk to a true legend.

In the early part of the week, I took some elderly relatives out for lunch, went swimming with a friend and her kids, polished off some admin, wrote, and got given a nickname at a new class I’m taking and really enjoying, which made me feel accepted. My Grandad always says life is about human relationships. Community and family are really important to me, and, let’s face it, to everyone’s mental health. We are social animals. If someone acts like they don’t need people… they’re fronting in a way that defies all logic and reason.

On Thursday I DID SOME BOOK STUFF. If you are one of my readers, I know this is the exciting bit, so I put it in capitals. Also, if you are one of my readers who keeps asking me about a film adaptation of Golden Boy… keep reading.

Recently my literary agent helped to fix me up with a new book-to-film agent. A book-to-film agent is basically someone who agents your book to film companies. Film companies and studios sometimes have scouts that are really involved in the publishing world and track down the latest blockbuster books as if they were spies. It’s all cocktails, and Frankfurt, and beautiful hotels. My ex used to do it, and I particularly appreciated the beautiful hotels part. In fact, travelling and drinking also suited me. Smaller companies work on the basis that an executive or a producer will get super excited about a book/play/comic and track the author down through their agent to pursue the rights to make it.

An independent film producer who is incredibly kick arse has been after Golden Boy for a while, but it was difficult to set up or, frankly, to know what to do, without a book-to-film agent. My new one, Matthew Bates at Sayle Screen, has been wonderful. Thoughtful, clever, and with a GSOH (I feel like I’m suddenly writing his dating profile…), he arranged a meeting with the producer, and the writer and director she wanted to work with. I liked them both, so she set up Golden Boy with a television company, and me meeting them was the reason we got together on Thursday.

“Television?” I hear you say. Yeah, television. Everybody felt that a) Golden Boy has such a wealth of information about everyone in it that we could mine it for a TV series and a film would sadly have to hack out much of the material, and b) one of my main goals with Golden Boy was to reach a lot of people. There’s no point having something important to say, and then saying it to a small group of the academic, uber-literary middle class. I think it’s something we achieved well with the book. It translates. This could happen to you, your family, your community, the boy you love at school. It’s why we are published in eight languages, and over seventy-five countries, by nine different publishers. An independent film (because of the controversial material studios would, and have, been hesitant) would reach a very small audience. Television could reach a huge one, and create real social change.

It was a fun meeting. I felt like basically we just all agreed about how to make it, laughed, and ate oranges. I spoke to Matthew the next day on the phone, said I liked the team, and the direction they wanted to go in, so he’ll take it from here. The biggest task will be the writer’s, Josh’s, if it gets picked up as a pilot.

I met with my literary agent, Jo, who I have been with since the beginning, for Thursday lunch. That was equally as exciting as the first meeting, because she has read the first draft of my new book (REALLY early draft but I have a deadline for my UK publisher this month, so it has to be handed in), and loves it. There is understandably a lot of work to do (she saw Golden Boy at third draft, and my editors saw it at fifth draft), but we’re excited. So I might have some even bigger news for you soon. Cross fingers.

Saturday I met the cinematographer I worked with when directing the “Jennifer Lawrence” and “Girls Won’t Mind” videos, and I had dinner with my friends I have been staying with, then Sunday was reserved for family. Friday night topped off the week beautifully though.

Last week, I spoke about being authentic. Being authentic is easier, as Gretchen Rubin says in The Happiness Project, when you’re living in the moment, and experiencing new things aids this. We are so unaware of ourselves when we are engaged in new activities. As we ate bao buns on the Chinatown monument, I told my friend Rosie that I needed a night where I didn’t know where we had ended up, like I used to have when I first moved to London, and to be just the perfect amount of inebriated. In general, since the car accident, I have felt aware of everything and everyone, as if preparing for an emergency. Serendipitously, I had just that night: pub, karaoke, and a club I had never been to, dancing all night, friends and friends of friends i.e. both old, beloved people and new, lovely people to talk to. I was totally in the moment, the perfect amount of tipsy (thank you Sambuca), and experiencing new places and people. I felt very me and very happy, then, and since.