the state of things






I just thought I would check in to this unfamiliar place seeing that I don’t at present have the time to come here anymore.


I am currently about 95% finished with the initial text for my perfume guide, which has been an incredibly demanding, new, thrilling, and exhausting experience that I don’t even know how much I can actually talk about ( for a person as fiercely independent, rebellious and difficult as myself all of this has been entirely unchartered territory :  I am having to learn to work as a ‘team person’ and relinquish control – for an aesthetic control freak a very difficult thing to do: there are demands, legal obligations, deadlines…. all while doing a pressurized teaching job).



Sometimes I watch the whole process from afar like some abstract performance art piece ( it is only very recently that I have actually realized it is all real): me as a commercial reality, sold in a shop rather than this malleable, deletable digital presence.



Life has changed immeasurably. We have no time to go anywhere or do anything else ( Duncan is helping me with it all and that aspect of the ‘process’ has been my favourite, even if the house has turned into a gay pigsty – see picture). It feels, a little, like having your head in a vice/vise,  and sometimes it has actually all been quite insanity inducing.




But even though I have overshot deadlines and possibly tried the patience of my publisher with my dillying and dallying, the main text will be finished by this weekend, and then the whole EDITING process will begin in which I have to willingly kill my own darlings ( the book, as it is now, is way too long to fit physical realities).



By November it should be done.  Just  to remind you, this is not The Black Narcissus attempts the ‘ Proustian novel ‘ but more like a luxurious ‘pop bijou’ to be read in the toilet : a book with bite sized reviews for the perfume newbie as much as the confirmed perfumist. I have no idea how it will be received ( it comes out March 21st – title still not decided (!))and we will see then if anyone buys it : there will be events in London : perhaps I can meet you at one of them? but I am just riding the wave right now to see where it takes me.



When it is all done and dusted, though, much as I am enjoying the novelty of the experience,  I am still looking forward to having autonomy:  no word limit, to be able to read the New York Times all the way through in bed, and to just ramble and roam on here to my pretentious heart’s content.






Filed under Flowers

34 responses to “the state of things

  1. bellaciao

    I am totally looking forward to the publication!!!! Please post updates especially on events in London around the publication date, so I can may be plan a little trip. I have less far to travel than you, much less, but work tends to interfere with my private traveling plans:)- All the best in the joyous pigsty, a very appealing concept:)-

  2. I will buy it in April. A copy will sell sure. Thank you.

  3. Ariane

    An event in New York? Please!

    • As if I would get through customs with that fucker in power whose agents would read all my posts and hold me for questioning. If it weren’t for that I would LOVE to. But my phobia of dehydration and being confined in any way is too great. If all of this is bullshit then I will see you there!

  4. Russell Davidson

    Hang in there, friend. The best way out is always through. I anticipate a gem.

  5. David

    I can’t wait to read your book! I love that you described it as a pop bijou. I hope you don’t abandon this blog when the book takes off. It’s so much fun to look forward to your new posts. I hope that take you on a book tour all over the world and you can stop in São Paulo.

  6. laloutre

    Well done! I will be delighted to read your book!

  7. MrsDalloway

    An event in London would be excellent: I will be there! Are you looking for title suggestions? Bad fragrance puns?

  8. Patricia

    I will buy it!

  9. Filomena

    I definitely want to buy your book and hope it will be sold in the U.S.

  10. Kayse

    I can’t wait to get my own copy Neil!

  11. Brigitte

    Looking forward to this. You MUST come to New York.

  12. Tara C

    Wow, already finished, I am impressed! Can’t wait to purchase my copy.

    • Not QUITE finished – and not even started the editing yet (and obviously I worry constantly about all the perfumes omitted…..there are just too many!) but even so, hopefully it will provide some pleasure to the reader on some level!

  13. Robin

    Happy to read this. Are you finding your editor reassuringly simpatico? I do hope so. That will make the next stage bearable.

  14. Really excited to hear about your new book, and look forward to buying/reading it!

  15. I don’t want to remind some miserable memories but I remembered the day you spent in hospital especially after surgery. Too many taken “steps” full of emotions in every terms of. I think, you wrote two books, not one, since then.

    I really hope that you will not stop posting here.

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