Just to clarify my last post. I've had a look, and it turns out that the kindle version of Court of Dreams is free to anyone who wants one until the 23rd. So even if it wasn't something you were originally thinking of reading, this is probably the time to grab a copy.
From shameless self promotion to the cricket, where England are playing the West Indies. Things have gone quite well for England over the last two days, with Stuart Broad's seven wickets putting an end to the West Indies' first innings, and then Andrew Strauss getting a hundred. That's a good one, because it takes some of the pressure off him over whether he is currently worth his place. It did, however start me thinking about how in sport and life, often we care more about single performances than how things are going generally.
We seem to have the need to find a moment that defines things. Some big symbol of how things are going. I'm not sure life works quite like that, but the thing is that we often think in stories, and stories do work that way. Change might occur generally, but it is the symbol of change that matters more, often in the form of some sort of decisive action taken towards the end of the story.
Another quick thought on the cricket: the current West Indies team shows brilliantly how so many human endeavours are down to more than just being good at them. In this case, it's also about the politics and arguments of getting good players onto the ground. I'll say it straight away: what's playing England is effectively a second string team. Key players like Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo are playing in the IPL instead. So is Narine, their mystery spinner, who would almost certainly prove dangerous against English batsmen. Fast bowler Jerome Taylor, meanwhile, has been messed around by the West Indies board that he has effectively given up the game.
If you haven't been put off by all the cricket, here's a thought for the writers among you. This is surprisingly like what happens with books. You write one, but whether it succeeds also comes down so much to what other people do with it. There are the editors, the publishers... you'll notice I don't speak about my first two novels too much. Suffice it to say that Pink Narcissus, who publish my current one, came as a pleasant surprise after all that. It does mean though that when you're writing or selling one, you do have to think about that sort of thing as much as you can.