Just sent the last parts of the gods off to Rapunzel, the mercurial, hyper-smart and often un-contactable techie-person who builds my website.
She really does live in a tower, carved out of stone with slit-windows and a drawbridge and stuff, and she really is imprisoned by a dwarf, but sometimes I don’t think she really wants to escape; all that business with growing her hair all the way down to the ground, I don’t think she can quite be bothered; to be honest, I think she quite likes it where she is.
The tower’s got all mod-cons. It’s online. Last I heard, it had a Mercedes in the drive.
Went for a walk and some wild camping with my man Wilson, over the weekend.
I got a huge blister on my foot, and it was very wet. It rained solid for two days, sheets of it drifting across the reservoir. We wild-camped on Saturday night but I couldn’t properly work out how to set up my tent, and it got dark and I forgot my torch, and the plantation trees above our heads shrieked with the wind, all night.
I lay in my sleeping bag, in my crappy tent, from 7.30 pm, with only the light of my mobile phone for company. No signal. I thought good thoughts about my girl and wished I’d stayed at home. From about 2-3 am on Sunday morning it stopped raining but then it started again and just got steadily heavier.
The second day was wetter, and windier than the first. When I got home, I dumped my boots by the front door, and they’re still there. I can’t look at them.
But now, a couple of days later, I’m sitting with Starlight on my lap, trying to write and it doesn’t seem so bad.
East of the Web do really good artwork. They’ve just published The Card, a short story I submitted a while ago.
The cover, from their website, is on the left.
I’m pleased with the story. And the cover artwork. If you’re the artist, email me and let me know what else you do.
Lishman emailed me some photos of the cold-water shack he’s living in with his girl Jesse. (See left). It’s at the south-eastern edge of the Pyrenees, somewhere near Barcelona. More than that, he’s not telling anyone.
The ‘shack’ seems to be a bit nicer than how he described it, but he’s sticking to his story that there are wild boar roaming the streets.
I don’t know what his plans are, but I’m guessing they’ll be cool. I’m hoping he’ll start up the ‘Lishman Diaries’ blog again http://barcelonadiary-lishman.blogspot.com/ but I don’t know if his apartment cat, Kitler, has moved into the countryside with him.
Kitler was a big feature in the Lishman Diaries. In fact I’d go as far as saying that amongst the conspiracies, social whirl and occasional day’s honest work described in his blog, Kitler was the star. Without Kitler, it wouldn’t be the same.
By Christmas I hope to re-start work on Grendel, which is currently sitting unfinished on my website.
Unlike most of my stories, Grendel has a plot: girl meets boy, girl isn’t really that interested in boy, he turns out (possibly) to be a serial killer, girl falls in love with boy, bad things happen. End.
I’m sort of in love with April, the female character in Grendel. I love her independence, her sarcasm, her fearlessness, and I’m looking forward to finding out how she deals with Christopher James ‘Babe’ Walker, a character who keeps cropping up in my stories, and who is the very definition of the word damaged.
When I complete the gods I’ll be saying goodbye to characters that I’ve grown to like, and want to keep in touch with; people I want to get to know better. The people in the stories I’ve written, I believe they’re still out there, living their lives. They’re still in motion, still colliding with each other and with their worlds, same as us.
I didn’t invent them, I don’t own them, I only discovered them; found fragments of their lives littering the floor of my imagination.
Last night I found myself out in the street, looking for Starlight. It was cold. I was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts and I was eating the final slice of toast. The park gates were locked, and I didn’t fancy climbing over the fence and walking around the grass in my bare feet searching for my stray cat. Looking up, I saw the blue-white light of a full moon creeping over the treetops. Smiling, I went back inside, leaving Starlight to the hunt.
It’s easy to tell the truth, you just say what you said, or what you think, or you say what you’ve done. And then you can sleep peacefully at night. You can look people in the eye. You can be confident of the ground on which you stand.
And it’s easy to live the truth. You choose the honest actions, you respond truthfully, you act in a way that won’t shame you in the eyes of others. You don’t do things that you might feel the need to hide. You stand tall.
But I don’t find the truth easy.
I dissemble. I hide. I hold back. I don’t lie but, doubting myself, I doubt every word I say, and every decision I make. So I hedge my bets. Smiling, I give away the vault, keeping the key snug in my pocket. I fight my corner the only way I know.
Lishman told me that fiction is truth, and I sort of stole that phrase for my website, because fiction is the nearest I get to telling the truth.
I don’t believe in stopping doing stuff in order to take pictures of what I’m doing and, anyway, I broke my good camera, and the one on my phone is pretty crap. About 48 pixels, I’m guessing.
But I saw this perfect rainbow yesterday evening. The photograph doesn’t do it justice; I really needed a wide angled lens to show the complete half circle of coloured light that hung above me (and, like some sort of skyquake, the rainbow was shadowed by smaller aftershock rainbows at either side).
I’d been for a walk along the clifftops and got caught in a rainshower. The sun was sitting on the horizon, blazing across the fields at eye level, warming me, but the clouds were above my head and dumping their rain onto my zipped-up hoody.
The result of this confusion of weathers, sunlight and showers, was a perfect rainbow, sitting across the waves about a quarter mile out to sea.
(*my apologies to Sylvia Voirol for the mis-quote)