A new year, a new book, and a new resolution

by M.J. Hearle

And so 2012 is upon us.

If the doomsday prophets are right it’s the last year we’ve got before the earth explodes or gets eaten by a giant fiery bird or something so we should probably make the most of it. I don’t know about you but I’ve got quite a few things on my bucket list that still need to be checked off. I’ve already managed to achieve the first – write a novel – so now I’m onto number two – Become the King of All Media. Yes, I am a man of simple tastes and modest ambitions. To be happy all I need is a book with my name on it and complete domination of the cultural landscape.

Ahem.

So, delusions of grandeur aside let us look at this task pragmatically or as pragmatically as one can examine a near-impossible task. How do you become the King of All Media? What are the steps that must be completed? Firstly, it seems prudent we should identify just who is the reigning King. After all, if I am to steal this crown I need to know who’s currently wearing it. This isn’t as easy as it seems. Titans exist in music, movies, literature and the other arts yet there are very few multi-hyphenates or few of note in any case.

Charles Dickens knew how to write a book but nobody ever talks about his brief run as an actor/director adapting his own stories for the stage (I hear his Pip was a little on the nose). Being really great at one thing usually means being mediocre at everything else. There’s only so much creative energy we have to throw around. However, every now and again someone comes along who excels not only in one field but many. Neil Gaiman is one such fellow and as such I suspect he may be the man to beat.

Reading over Gaiman’s cv is enough to make even the cockiest storyteller bristle with envy – award winning comic books, bestselling and critically lauded novels, blockbuster films, quirky musical side projects with his incredibly talented wife, Amanda Palmer. Gaiman has written for television (check out The Doctor’s Wife – one of my favourite Doctor Who episodes ever) inspired video games and plays and if this wasn’t enough also appeared on an episode of The Simpsons.

Considering these amazing achievements, it’s important (well, necessary really if I’m even considering throwing my hat in the ring) to remember that Neil Gaiman wasn’t always NEIL GAIMAN. His first foray into the world of publishing was a biography on Duran Duran. Yes, that’s right. Duran Duran. Girls on Film is pretty great, and I like Ordinary World but we’re not talking The Beatles here.

If Gaiman could rise to such dizzying heights from this inauspicious beginning then perhaps the crown isn’t as far out of reach as I thought. I’ve already got one novel out there and a second landing in May. I have this blog and…well, that’s about it. To become the King of All Media means writing for ALL MEDIA so having one foot in publishing and one in the blogosphere simply isn’t going to cut it. I need to create more material for different media platforms. At the moment, I have an idea for a comic about a clockwork man and his possessed cat, a treatment for a supernatural TV show that mixes the tone of Underbelly with the occult and a scattershot of movie concepts. It’s a start but as anyone who’s ever attempted any creative endeavour knows, ideas by themselves do not great work make. You actually need to act on these ideas. In other words, you need to write.

Neil Gaiman doesn’t just sit around thinking about cool stories – he writes them down. Granted he’s a multi-millionaire with time up his sleeve but I’m sure there was a time when he had to go without television and sacrifice sleep to complete his projects. Which is what I’ll have to do if I’m going to see even half of these writing goals through to the end.

New Years resolutions are generally worthless (how many times have I resolved to exercise and eat less pizza only to find myself sitting on the couch weeks later with said resolution buried beneath a pile of greasy Dominos boxes) but here’s mine for 2012:

Write more, sleep less.

What are your resolutions?

M. J.

P. S.

If by chance the producers of The Simpsons are interested in having me cameo in Season 24 here’s what I might look like Simpsonized:

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