Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Contains emotional intense scenes

On the Mac in my office, there's a half-written review of my 2008. I made some notes on my iPhone too. But here, sitting in front of my PowerBook, I realise one thing: I have too many computers.

And I'll delete all of it because I also realise that there really is only one thing to say: Angela's breast cancer has been treated and, so far as you can ever get anything like an all-clear, the treatment has done its job.

So, see you in 2009?

Okay, well. This time last year I wrote a huge amount about quite a little; it was all success, success and three times success but primarily so that I could then slap you with the news of Angela's diagnosis. I like a punchline. When I thought about the year ahead, rather than just day-to-day and appointment-to-appointment, it was to mentally write the whole of 2008 off. But it's been a stubborn bugger of a year and a great deal of it seems to have been rather successful again, almost as if it's in spite of me.

Well, I say that and I don't believe it: this year I have obviously looked after Angela before anything else yet still I've had three stage play productions, worked on two new magazines, become a finalist in one contest. Plus the annual dance around BBC Radio 4 just seemed to be more fun this time. I won a spot on an invitation-only BBC Writers' Room course.  I did a Doctor Who blog that became the most popular read on the RadioTimes.com website. I shot short films for Radio Times, worked on commercial DVDs, I've had an overwhelming worldwide reaction to a casual aside I made that I might give up doing the UK DVD Review podcast.

And it's all come from pitching every day. Every working day for the year.

It might not have been much: I counted meetings, phone calls, emails, script submissions, contest entries, all sorts of things as being the pitch for the day but I did it. Well, I have one more to do but I suspect I'll manage.

If I'm to be 100% honest, I should tell you that I have also managed to lose a lot of work this year: quite a bit of Radio Times magazine work went away - all for quite fine reasons, all very amicable and fine, but still I do miss some of it. But then you compare the loss of On This Day to the time I had to hold Angela upright in the chair at the GP surgery. How she had a bad allergic reaction to one of the chemotherapy drugs and because I raised the alarm, the entire medical staff ran to her with a crash-cart. You can live without On This Day.

Still, it's been tremendous having readers complain to RT. One woman from Sussex, I think, phoned the reader services department to say she'd seen I wasn't writing the feature and wanted to ask if I were okay.

I used to think that work was everything and, well, I still do. But we're writers, we can handle contradictions: I simultaneously think that people are everything. I said I pitched every day; sometimes I'd forget that was what I was doing. The people on Doctor Who Adventures magazine, for instance, are just so nice I amble over to see them when I can and probably I ought to be bringing ideas, I ought to have had a Pitch In Mind. Often enough I have, I suppose, but usually it's an amble. Similarly with Radio 4, I think: there are producers in R4 whose work is fantastic and I just enjoy talking with them. Radio's a funny world: I did have a proper pitch meeting with a radio producer and it looks like I will get the work I was after, but the best bit was nattering about radio in general. For a couple of hours.

Which is what I'll end up doing with you if I don't shut up. I did just write you a few hundred more words about all the great things that have happened with my work this year, but let me skip: in so many ways, and for so many obvious reasons, I'm ready to move on from 2008.

But some years won't let you go easily. Like 1983. Follow: I went to the Longleat Doctor Who thing in 1983 and this week I learn from a DVD feature about it that there were 70,000 people over the two days of the event. If you don't know about this event, Who writer Paul Cornell described it only mildly-jokingly as Doctor Who's Woodstock.

Now of those 35,000 each day, I'm on the 25th Anniversary DVD of Doctor Who: The Five Doctors. Imagine my jaw flapping about as I watched this DVD a few days ago. Have a look:

I have rarely had so much hair. Or a duffel coat.

Normally, I've got to tell you, I don't like photographs from that long ago. I'm not keen on one taken 20 minutes back. But seeing myself at Longleat like that, so unexpectedly, I don't know: I'm just sure that the me back then would be pleased at the me I am now.

Though if we could've just had a natter, I'd have told me to tell me to hurry up. And to get Angela's breast examined earlier.

That's the reason I'm glad to be done with 2008. But I'm also looking forward to 2009 for all the work that's ahead of me - and because I'm going back to New York City in May.

Have a good new year,

PS I figured out Blogger's location-aware bits. And how to make it lie.


Jason Arnopp said...

That picture is utterly tremendous, sir. The finest of new years to you and your good lady.

William Gallagher said...

I thank you! And the same to you, your family, strangers passing by.

And just as a point of interest, I have now, this minute, pitched my last pitch of 2008. Can't believe I kept that up.


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