So while I’ve been preparing my latest book for publication (and I’m self-indulgent enough to plug it above) I have acquired the rather unpleasant side disease of Gout. Fibromyalgia and Gout. The one-two punch combo that offers you both the dull constant ache of the former and the new hot-broken-glass rubbed into bones feel of the latter. A real privilege. That said, now I feel like a proper writer! Forget sales and good reviews (though they are very nice), there is no greater validation of the art than knowing that you have one of those classic diseases that Ivan Turgenev had! Yet when people discover you have gout – a hereditary thing in my case – most remark that you need to lay off the port and pheasant; yes, that is exactly my life – swigging booze and eating the finest poultry while drifting around the house in a cravat. Yes, if you think that you don’t get much understanding when you utter the term ‘fibromyalgia’, wait until you say you’ve got gout too. I can almost feel a peasants’ revolt forming against me outside – opulent bourgeois writer keeping the ordinary man down. I can assure you that, despite having the port flavoured wine gum on occasion of being offered it, I am far from the foppish Shelley-like character who is paying for years of excess.
So here I am, foot swollen, dog snuggling up to me for sympathy (and food) and cursed with the family disease, its first incursion into my life. And yet, as I walk around like a constipated version of Robocop, I feel far better off than most.