Why I’m Here – Overcoming Professional-Grade Procrastination

Pipedream #9

Mick’s pipedream #9 … but you gotta have ’em, right?

Fourteen years is more than enough time to turn procrastination into a profession. And from the outside maybe that’s what it looks like I’ve been doing, at least when it comes to writing fiction. My first novel, Burning Sunday, came out in 99. Just over a month ago I embarked on the challenging and some would say foolhardy, or even block-headed, exercise of serially blogging Fare Game – which will be my new novel, if things go well. And the 14 years in between? Well…

Back at the turn of the millennium I was too slow-witted and/or naïve to realise that I had any kind of literary career to throw away. Reviewers considered BS to be somewhat better than its more commonly used short-hand meaning suggested, and the book managed to sneak onto the short-list for The Age book of the year. Continue reading

Insignificance can be achieved quite simply and through myriad paths. (Or, the Google God moves in mysterious ways.)

News of the Google God @ Creative Commons

News of the Google God @ Creative Commons

This is for The Ride, an unreliable chronicle of my experiences in blogging. The next instalment of Fare Game will be ready tomorrow.

In the beginning, Google thought I was a typo.

I’m at the end of the first month of the block-headed project of blogging my hope-to-be novel Fare Game. There are so many things I’ve learnt, so many unexpected valuable experiences and lessons, so much I am yet to learn or even realise I am yet to learn, that to chronicle them would be tedious.

But here’s one observation I want to share … when I type ‘mickmccoy.com’ into Google’s search field it asks me, ‘Did you mean nickmccoy.com?’ If I entered ‘mick mccoy’ Google wouldn’t even be polite enough to ask the question, it would automatically tell me it was Showing results for Nick McCoy and then in micro font underneath tell me to ‘Click here for Mick McCoy’ Continue reading

Too busy killing darlings to ride

This one’s for The Ride. More Fare Game online tomorrow …

So here’s the thing… it’s kinda late, it has been a long day, I’m due to have posted something for The Ride and I’ve just been too plain busy doing the metaphorical riding – working on the transition of my days from full-time corporate functionary to thinking, feeling, creating writer – to get this blog piece done.

Well, yeah, I get the irony in that. And there’s even more ‘cos in between wrestling with the delicate balance of family and self and dollar-earning functionary and creative writer and glue-sniffing popcorn vendor – the recording of which is the exact point of The Ride posts – it’s a ride-like slice of writing that has tipped me over the precipice and left me here with so much to say that I can’t get any of it down.

Some of you will be aware of Kill Your Darlings, who describe themselves this way on Twitter: Kill Your Darlings is an independent, quarterly publication. We publish fresh, clever writing that combines intellect with intrigue.

On Friday, those very darlings agreed for me to contribute a piece to their blog about my bumpy ride. This very ride right here. As a result I have spent a good part of today doing my best to be clever, by combining intellect with intrigue, and shoe-horning the whole damn lot into a piece they will be sufficiently satisfied meets those lofty criteria and is consequently published. Bloody enjoyable it was, too.

By spending time killing darlings I am actually on The Ride. Two darling birds killed with one stone. Or one story. The keyboard is mightier than the stone, after all. You’ve probably heard that. Writing 1,000 words for them is very much a part of the ambition of this blog: do my topmost-notch job of writing Fare Game and use this blog and other relevant online avenues to raise awareness of that topmost-notch job.

Bums on seats, folks, that’s what I’m after. If some of those in the KYD audience want to mosey over and check-out some mcphoenixy Fare Game freshness, all the better. And while I’m strong on the re-animation theme here, preferably clad in a lovely rich purple, rather than the slaughter of  those I’m fond of, I’m sure we’ll learn to respect those differences.

But that’s it for now. I’m all clevered out. Clearly. Intrigue is off the agenda and I just spilt my intellect on the floor with the green tea bag. The cat – Harry – about whom it will be alleged soon in Fare Game is contentedly homosexual – has sniffed at my intellect as it seeps from the green tea bag and dribbles across my kitchen floor, turned up his nose at it all and sauntered off with his tail held high yet whiskers untwitched.

Antisocial Media


MEERKAT (Photo credit: paddynapper)


This post is for The Ride: a record of my thoughts, fears, ambitions and experiences of blogging an unpublished novel.


For posts of the actual story – Fare Game – see the next post down, or click on the ‘Recent Posts’, ‘Archives’, or ‘Categories’ links to the right of the page and down a bit.


And please, if you’re not already, show your support for this blog by including your email address in the text box to the right and clicking ‘Follow’


Antisocial Media. That’s what I was calling Facebook for a few days this week. There was teeth-grinding, jaw clenching and eyebrow harvesting. Particularly eyebrow harvesting.  It’s what I do when I’m confronted with a problem I can’t fix. Or at least, it’s what I’m told I do, by my wife and two daughters. And If I look in the bathroom mirror, it is pretty clear my right eyebrow just stops about two-thirds the way along its proper course. Where the final third of eyebrow should be, there’s a kind of facial hair desert.


My girls didn’t lie to me about that. My girls wouldn’t lie to me, particularly if it relates to a further deterioration of my physical appearance that makes being seen in public with me even more painful for them. Their objective when out in public with me is that I seem invisible to people of their age. But a gross facial deformity such as the lack of the outside third of a right eyebrow renders you visible in the most embarrassing way. It’s something I’ve just got to deal with. Continue reading

1.3 Fare Game

Deutsch: Jack Nicholson bei der deutschen Film...

Film premiere The Bucket List, Berlin, 21 January 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the third instalment of Fare Game, the purpose of this blog. If you haven’t already, please
 Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right to receive notifications of each new instalment.

Earlier instalments are available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page. Here’s a synopsis of what happened last time:

Yep, that’s Stephanie alright – off to ride Punter’s political adversary – Driver pulls up short to prevent carnage – lifelessness outside the cemetery – the cost of Driver’s advice – a plan of revenge is hatched

And so to Fare Game, the third instalment …

Until that instant Driver had no idea what he was going to say. But he couldn’t bare the sight of Punter so full of self-pity.

‘Well you’re acting like you might as well be dead, so why don’t you just jump the fence?’ Driver said. ‘Why don’t you just jump the fence now and get it over with? Pick a stone, lift the lid and cosy up to some corpse or other.’

Punter looked at him, slack-faced. ‘You say it makes you feel sick. Big fucken deal. Go take an Aspirin, or something.’

‘I know it’s not about me, you idiot.’ Driver said.  ‘Look, I’ll make it nice and simple for you. Nice and clear. You remember The Postman Always Rings Twice?’ he asked. ‘The ’82 version with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson. You remember that?’

Driver knew he was drawing an exceedingly long bow. He knew the analogy would leave them both no better than stumbling towards some kind of clarity. But it was the only thing he could think of. It was the only way he could see forward. And it was forward. At least, it seemed that way to Driver.

‘Oh, no. You’ve got to be kidding me!’ Punter replied. ‘Please Driver, please, this is serious. Most of the time I can forgive your film-driven pop psychology. Even accept it at some level. But not now. Please.’ Continue reading

1.2 Fare Game

This is the second instalment of Fare Game, the purpose of this blog. If you haven’t already, please click ‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right to receive notifications of each new instalment. 

The first instalment is available by clicking links in the Archives or Categories boxes to the right of the page. Or, there’s a two-line synopsis below.

Driver’s calling – An agitated Punter – Follow that car! – The politics of envy – Who’s in the Beemer? – The eyes have it – He’s headed to my place! – The woman in the passenger seat … is that Stephanie?

 And so to the new stuff: Fare Game, the second instalment …

But despite all the evidence on the table, Driver was acutely aware of the potentially messy consequences of drawing the wrong conclusion. Of in any way acting on a misunderstanding. Few men would be less than deeply offended if another assumed, correctly or not, that his wife was fooling around on him.

So Driver decided to continue feigning ignorance, just in case the conclusions he’d leapt to were wrong. ‘Do you want to tell me what this is all about?’

But it was as if Punter didn’t hear Driver at all. He was so lost in his own thoughts, in his own anxieties and black imaginings, that Driver’s voice apparently didn’t even register. So when his question went unanswered, Driver didn’t press it further.

‘Ha,’ Punter said, a sudden but artificial lifting of the gloom evident in his voice. ‘It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?’ He leaned even further forward and craned his neck to look directly up at the sky through the top of the wind screen. ‘I should buy ten grand worth of Italian pushbike and join you and those wanker mates of yours in their lycra, clogging up Beach Road and hogging all the tables at Café Racer.’

‘Should you?’ Driver asked him.

‘Well I can’t afford a car like his, so how else am I gunna compete? I gotta get back into shape.’

Continue reading

Reflections on the first instalment

This is the third post for The Ride: a record of my thoughts, fears, ambitions and experiences of blogging an unpublished novel. For the first post of the actual story, see the next post down

There, it’s done. Am I calm? No. Excited? Yes. But you can be ‘excited’ if an angry rhino is bearing down on you and there’s nowhere to hide. All I’m doing here is blogging a book, so what’s with the anxiety?

While I’m not risking death or dismemberment by taking this relatively unusual step of committing a new novel to a blog format and relentless schedule, I am exposing myself to the potential for a very public kind of failure.  I hope the blog is very public. I also hope it’s not a failure.

Continue reading

1.1 Fare Game

City Square, Melbourne, Australia, from Swanst...

City Square, Melbourne, Australia, from Swanston Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the first instalment of Fare Game, the purpose of this blog. If you click ‘Follow mcphoenix via email’ to the right you will receive notifications of each new instalment.

As he crossed Swanston Street the tyres of Driver’s taxi beat out a ragged rhythm against the tram lines. He loved that sound. Always had.  While it served a bitter-sweet reminder of his father, more generally the industrially sprung percussion of rubber against steel rails also evoked more positive emotions. A feeling of progress, of movement and delivery, which was perhaps the main attraction of his job. And a feeling of a very particular kind of intimacy, the audience for the beat he conducted being witnessed by no one except the occupants of his cab. A feeling of connectedness to place, that sound not being replicated in quite the same way in any other town or city in the country, or in more than a handful of cities beyond. A sense that this vocation in this city was not merely a symptom of his indecision, as Minnie liked to think, or his failure to commit to what he had trained to do. Not a diversion – albeit of six years’ duration and counting – from his proper path, but rather the path. The true and proper path, regardless of what anyone else said. That sound was the self-affirming tattoo for his chosen professional life. At least, that’s what he liked to tell himself. And while all that was about to begin unravelling, for the better part of those last six years, Driver had convinced himself that was the only thing that mattered.

Coasting up the rise along Collins Street he spotted his waiting customer on the opposite footpath outside the Westin, impatience furrowing his brow and rendering him fidgety and agitated, unable to stand still. Six-three, or six-four of him shuffling from foot to foot as if the pavement was made of hot coals and embers, or as if he was busting for a piss. It brought a knowing smile momentarily to Driver’s face, one that he guessed he’d better extinguish before his passenger joined him.

Continue reading