I write in English which is my mother tongue but can also speak fluent German since my school days. I took to it like a duck to water which was strange because most of my class mates hated it and found the whole thing impenetrable. Always wondered why that happened. Ten years later I married my beautiful Austrian bride. We’re still laughing away in EnglDeutsch – as we call it – 30 years later and love playing scrabble in both languages. Very weird.

Johnny Johnson

Johnny Johnson

I still wrestle dreadfully with the notion of finishing any book which I’ve started but find heavy going. What if it improves , as is often the case , and I miss out on a brilliant slow burner. But what if it doesn’t , valuable hours wasted. Aaagh.

I find libraries are like churches. Sanctuaries where one can switch off from the daily grind for a while and find repose. The secret is actually just closing your eyes for a short period , preferably in a place where there is silence and no extraneous sound. , although I freely admit that sitting in a library with ones eyes closed is pretty far removed from the original purpose of those places. However we are lucky in England to still have so many of both. Make the most of it.

While I’m on the subject of silence , I personally find that I cannot write without it.  Something to do with a train of thought , leading gently from A to B and then off to Z via W. If I’m disturbed that train gets derailed somewhere between D and K and I alight , possibly never to board again. Total silence is best , but so hard to find , and actually a very powerful stimulant. Try it for half an hour, the cleanse will surprise you , as will the potency and intensity of the whole experience.

I am increasingly political as I grow older but have a mindset that wants to solve problems rather than just blah blah about them. Fixing Brexit is going to take two to three years then is it? Ahh c’mon.  How long would it take if you weren’t getting paid ?

I like crowd psychology although I’m by no means an expert. Why do we feel different – better in fact – when we are with others , especially friends and loved ones? Why is a large sports crowd so emotionally charged? It can’t just be the tribalism can it? Lots of positive energy focused intently on the same thing at the same time. Score that goal. Make that putt. Win that race. Something profoundly spiritual going on there , people joined together in a common thought. There’s obviously still so much we don’t know or understand about how our brains and minds work.

I was in Vegas once , one of those massive hotels, surrounded by people , lots of people , none of whom I knew. I felt a strange sensation, couldn’t put my finger on it.  It was generally unpleasant , not threatening , but maybe a bit debilitating.  I phoned my beloved. The feeling disappeared. I had been lonely, without even realizing it.  I remember being a bit dazed by the realisation for the rest of the day. How lucky that I could escap that dreadful misery so easily ? How unfortunate are those who can’t and have to live with it. Nobody should.

My pet hate? That phrase “ Coming up next “ which they are so fond of using on telly these days to keep one tuned in.  If I want to know what’s coming next I’m going to continue watching aren’t I? Please don’t spoil it my enjoyment by telling me ahead of time. That’s closely followed by pet hate number two, the absence of England on all drop down menus. From Azerbaijan to Zanzibar via Burkina Faso and Yemen , every other country on the planet is there. Apart from the one where I live. And where I am making the transaction. Why? Who is doing that to us ? Can you stop it please ? Immediately.

My research for my writing is almost exclusively my own life and my own direct experiences. I guess that’s what happens when you try lots of different things and have a variety of jobs rather than one long career.  However I have a brother – in – law who’s been doing the same thing for nearly forty years. Same office, same journey to work etc. He loves it. For him routine is essential  - the secret of life almost - and he wouldn’t change it for anything. Only he’ll have to soon. He’s retiring. Good luck Helmut. Schoene errinerungen und viel spass.

I wrote my first book – The English Patent – over the course of eight years although it only took about four months in total to complete. Basically I began it in 2008 , got distracted a bit , then finished it in 2016.  Its not too onerous doing it that way but I think I’ll be going for the garden shed approach next time and attempt the mega – discipline of x hours or x words per day. The characters have started nattering to me already and I can feel the plot brewing so best get down there soon and have a little clear out. Now then , where on earth did I leave that key.

Are patents boring. Well not really. They can get pretty wacky. You can file for anything, and , if you’ve got something original , you probably should. I got interested in them to protect a business idea but then I got to thinking. What happens if you own one and it gets misappropriated ? Used for something else. Like an advertising patent that’s designed for consumer profiling and targeting being used to win the US presidency. Now that’s what I call a proper hijack. Is it possible. Well maybe, just maybe……

 

The English Patent by Johnny Johnson is out now.

 

Johnny Johnson

London: July 2017

The English Patent by Johnny Johnson is out now.

Johnny Johnson

London: July 2017