The guy opposite – thoughts on the train. An old intro page.

Anyone who writes will tell you that they have a favourite place where the writing comes easier than any other place.

For some this might be a study, or an office, or the local coffee shop. Other’s prefer to curl up on their bed with a big A4 legal pad and churn out the pages long hand. I’ve come to the conclusion that the place chooses you, and not the other way around.

In my case, the place happens to be any window seat facing in the opposite direction of travel, on the train to and from London Fenchurch Street. This has turned out to be extremely convenient on my occasional commute to the big smoke, not so convenient on the days when I’m at home and set some time aside to write, and nothing’s coming forth!

Last night on my journey home, I’d just sat myself down and got out my hi-tech writing paraphernalia when a chap sat down before me. He’d clearly been running to catch the train and whilst the rest of us passengers sat in our coats and jackets, waiting for the doors to slide closed and protect us from the chill coming from the platform, the man opposite loosened his tie and undid his top buttons. He lay back against his chair and took a few deep breaths. But this wasn’t just a man who was relieved to catch the train, this was a man who right now was thanking whatever gods there might be that he’d made it through the day. Forty five minutes from now, he’d be home, and it would all be over.

I guess he must have been thinking something like this when he took his mobile phone out of his pocket and called home. I watched a smile appear on his face as someone he cared for at the other end answered, and without thinking he used his free hand to brush his hair back whilst he spoke to her. Which is when he asked her about her day.

The expression changed: His face fell. He closed his eyes, and his free hand moved to his face and he rubbed the bridge of his nose with his fingers.
“Right,” he said. “Right.” And a few seconds later, “Yes. Ok. Right.” His shoulders fell, and his hand fell back into his lap.
“Uh huh. Ok. Ok. Ok.” He sighed, deeply. “Ok,” he said again.
Eventually, after a few more affirmative statements he muttered something about “seeing her soon”, and shut the phone off.

Gone was the relief. Instead his face was grey and expressionless. Like stone. And as the train pulled out the station he just stared out the window, and probably wondered why he hadn’t stayed at the office, and worked late, or gone for that drink or two that the guys in finance had invited him to.

Somewhere, not forty five minutes from us, someone put down their phone having just off loaded a day full of problems. Whoever they were, I sincerely hope that they felt better, unburdened somehow, because it came at a price, paid for by the gentleman opposite, and it would be sad to think it was all for nothing.

It’s little events like these that make the train such an easy place to write. Something happens, and it sparks a thought. The thought in turn sparks some writing, and one hundred and eighty odd train journeys later you have twenty seven chapters of your first novel written. At least in first draft. You’ll find a couple of those chapters on this website, and as ever I’d value any comments you might have.

Too much writing – A warning to people who write fiction. An old intro page.




Consider this a warning. Too much writing can skew your perspective on life.

If, as I do, you take your inspiration for your writing from the world around, and particularly the world in which you live, you may notice that pretty soon life ceases to be a series of events that happens to you, but more a sequence of events that happens about you.

You catch yourself thinking, “that’s interesting, I wasn’t expecting that,” as if the hideous event you’ve just experienced isn’t actually a set back at all but merely an interesting plot twist. You find yourself wondering “how things are going to turn out,” rather than, “what the hell do I do about this!”

Of course, I could be speaking for myself here. And I’m sure there are those who will ponder on whether I’ve merely developed a defense mechanism against the world and the extreme nature of the plot twist I currently find myself in. They may be right. If I have, it’s working for me.

I’m not going to fill this intro up with the usual babble about how I’ve been too busy to do any writing, mainly because for once, it isn’t true. For the last six months “writing” has been the number one focus in my life. Why? Because after 38 years, I finally figured out that there was never going to come a time when my to-do list would be empty and all those things that stand between me and doing something I enjoy were always going to be there. The only way to have time to write was to say “to hell with it,” sit down, and write.

So, if you haven’t received a birthday card from me, or you’re wondering why I haven’ replied to that email, or you were expecting me to get back to you about this thing or that thing.. and I haven’t.. this’ll be the reason. I’d like to apologise, of course I would, but I suspect that if you count yourselves amongst the group of friends who’ve been so supportive these last months then you’ll understand entirely, and for that I’d like to thank you sincerely.

By way of compensation, you can get a taste of what I’ve been working on on this blog, and as ever I value any thoughts or opinions you might have.

It's time to update your website – An old intro page




“You really ought to update your homepage,” said my wife.
“Why? What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s over a year old!”
“Really?” I said. She hates it when I say that.
“Yes!” She said looking around the room for a blunt instrument.

So, over a year then. Blimey. That means this website is nearly TWO years old. And what have I got to show for it? Fifteen feeble attempts at writing, most of which were written a long time ago. I mean a really long time ago. Long before the internet even existed. I know, I know, how is that even possible?

So what on earth have I been doing all this time? Well, aside from earning a living and all that other stuff that gets in the way of putting words on paper (or screen), most of my writing energies have actually been focused on a novel.
“A novel?” I hear you say, “what, like a book, like?”
“Yes,” I reply. “Exactly like a book. Like.”

I don’t want to reveal too much at this stage, but I genuinely have nine and a half chapters written (all first draft obviously, but give me some credit here). And most of those have been written in the last few months so I’m definitely getting faster, if not actually “better”. You can read excerpts on this website – I may post more excepts in the next few weeks if the whim takes me.

So there you are. Even though I haven’t added many new items in the past few months, it’s not like I’ve been sitting around doing bugger all. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. Ok, look, I promise I’ll try harder – there, are you happy now?

Thanks again to anyone and everyone who has sent me the occasional word or two of encouragement. It’s very much appreciated, if not 100% deserved. If you’d like to be kept informed of when I update this website (stop laughing at the back there), please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Happy reading and best wishes,

A website. With no cake – the original justicing welcome page.


Welcome !

It’s with a certain amount of dread that I write this.

Every word, every punctuation mark, every space takes me one step further towards completing the text on this page, and once I’m done, well, then it’s ready to be uploaded to the web. And if it’s uploaded to the web that means people might find it. They might read it. And then they might form an opinion.

It’s a terrifying prospect.

Have you ever had that feeling that although you might be say, thirty five, and to all intents and purposes a fully grown adult, in the driving seat of your psyche is the small boy you once were and haven’t really stopped being. A small boy with all the insecurities that your average seven year old has. Well I have. That’s me right now. It’s an odd feeling.

I probably wrote my first book when I was five or six. It didn’t have many words, it was mainly an illustrated book. I say book, actually it was just several sheets of A4 paper folded in half and bound together with about thirty staples from my grandmother’s stapler. It was a limited print run, distributed on a strict read-and-return basis.

But I’m stalling; attempting to hold off the inevitable by adding meaningless paragraphs. So allow me to thank a couple of people who have been instrumental in helping me put this website together, and then we’ll get started.

Firstly my wife and soulmate Kate, who after I dug out a couple of short stories for her to read encouraged me to start writing again after my 10 year pause. Kate, I’m not sure how you do it, but you have a talent for finding happy parts of me that I’d forgotten about and bringing them back to life. Thank you.

And also to my brother, Simon Jones, who’s writing talent and “meanwhile” website have been an huge inspiration to me. I make absolutely no excuses, the design of this website is intended to mimic his, and I sincerely hope he won’t be miffed but see it for what it is, a large nod in his direction for being such a positive influence. Thanks Sie.

And finally to my little sister, who unwittingly named this website in the first place. You can read about that here.

So here it is. My little corner of the internet. Uploaded, and you found it. Now you might read it. And who knows, you might form an opinion.

Click here for the contents, and happy reading.

Peter Jones
September 5, 2004