Now for something completely different

Anthony Zikh

I like to write as you notice. For over 21 years, I’ve been preparing multiple items daily, every day, in this space.

What we write here has limited relevance. Post it one day, and the next it doesn’t really matter because there’s always something new to take its place. I wrote Game makers Partially to create something that would have a little more continuity than the constant news cycle.

In 2020, I’m starting to mess with my imagination. Yes, I wrote a weird sci-fi novel about soccer many years ago, which in a weird way led me to this work in the first place. This time, the combination of some extra free time during the pandemic and a jolt of inspiration kept things moving.

My father was a bookmaker in the small town where I grew up. He connected to a wider cast, and my parents did a very good job of keeping me safe from the realities of the things they did (not my parents, as far as I know).

On the night of my birthday in 2020, I had a very powerful dream about my parents and things they may or may not have done in the 70’s. It gave me the idea for a novel about mob life in a small town. I started writing it the next day.

One thing led to another, and I’ve written six novels since then. I’m more than halfway through seventh. I have a few thoughts on No. 8, No. 9 and No. 10. It’s night after night, with an hour or two of writing, rewriting, editing and re-editing as a way to reset for the next day of constant thinking, talking and writing about football. I will finish one, start another, do an earlier one, work on that, and start another one, without any real plan or strategy.

Last December, I wrote a Christmas novel. It was based on an idea I’ve had in my head for over a decade. As soon as I sat down and started hunting and clicking, the words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters poured out. I didn’t feel like I was writing the story, I just felt like the story was writing itself.

So what the hell do I do with this stuff? One thing I learned from Game makers The experience is that even with a not-too-shabby publisher’s lead, writing books isn’t going to change anyone’s life – with very rare exceptions. And while I would like to put together something that people might read and enjoy after my death and my passing, I don’t expect, need, or even want to make a single penny out of this hobby that has become part of my daily routine.

The whole idea was to create something for people to read and enjoy. So why not just let people read it and maybe (if a little drunk) enjoy it?

That’s what I’m going to do, with a Christmas novel that basically wrote itself last year. Officially, this is a thank you to everyone who has supported what we do over the years. Unofficially, it’s an experiment to see if anyone reads this stuff and maybe (if a little drunk) enjoys it.

The book is called On our way home. If you love the holiday season, there’s a good chance you’ll love it. If you have dealt with the pain of losing a loved one, the story may resonate more with you.

I will be posting one chapter a day from Thanksgiving through Christmas. It contains just enough chapters to fit within the 32-day window.

Try it. Here is the first chapter. Like it or not, you are guaranteed to get your money’s worth. And feel free to drink a little before you start.

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