This is the third in a series of articles about the writing of my new book: Smiling on a Cloudy Day: An Englishman’s Love Affair with San Francisco. The previous posts were:
The dates of those posts might already indicate that progress has not been as swift as I would have liked. There are a variety of reasons for this, not least my father’s fluctuating health over the past eighteen months and a recent, but now concluded, return to paid employment.
It is a similar story with the blogging – only sixteen posts, admittedly some of them quite long, since returning from San Francisco in April last year, compared to almost double that number in the preceding nine months.
But that is now in the past, and I am determined to publish the book this year. Indeed, I have been working on a draft for many months.
One illustration of progress is that dozens of disparate sheets of paper scattered over various surfaces have now been incorporated into a smart folder in which that working draft is now housed (see below). True to type, inspiration has been sought in the attachment of Grateful Dead and Giants logos.
Part travel diary, part guide book, part history and part analysis of modern city life from the perspective of a regular foreign visitor, Smiling on a Cloudy Day follows the adventures of my wife and I during a month in early summer (if June in San Francisco can ever be considered summer). You will be able to follow us as we explore many of the most popular, and some less well-known, sights, chuckle and groan in equal measure at the antics of fellow passengers on public transportation, ramble round our adopted neighbourhood of Bernal Heights, and endure extreme temperatures at AT & T Park while still believing that the Giants will avert the run of dismal defeats that have coincided with our attendance.
Unsurprisingly, food and drink will feature strongly, and there will be plenty of music too at festivals and concert halls.
I intend to press on with the draft over the next four months before our next pilgrimage to the City in May. Those two weeks will feel as much a research trip as a vacation as I attempt to clarify facts and solidify themes.
Irrespective of whether I publish digitally or in print (though I remain inclined towards the former method), I plan to do so in advance of my second trip, this time for a full month in September/October.
I will continue to supply periodic updates and brief extracts on my blog in an effort to whet readers’ appetites as the book develops.
But if you would now excuse me, I need to get on with writing it.