Took the pooch for a walk to the beach this morning. The lighthouse was swathed in fog, which didn’t quite reach the beach or the top of the clifftops, and there was a clear sky above me, with bright sun shining.
The pier faded away as it swept out into the sea. Occasionally the top of the lighthouse peeped out from above the mist.
I have key tunes when I’m writing.
For Stateless, the sequel to Grendel, it was We Don’t Die by Tricky. For Dealer No. 1, when I wanted to write about Emily Dunbar, Mickey Hall’s love interest, I listened to In the Waiting Line by Zero 7.
When I wrote Jago the music I listened to to get into the relationship between Dakota and Jester was Loud Places by Jamie XX (with Romy). And now, for Coyote, the sequel to Jago, the music that describes that relationship is Throw it All Away, by Zero 7 again.
From 1-5 June, Jago is on free Kindle download.
It’s the first in a YA Sci-Poc trilogy. Download it, review it, enjoy it!
On balance I think I’ll choose the healthy option: keep the pushbike, cycle round town as I’m doing already, and buy an expensive soprano saxophone (rather than a cheap ‘n cheerful motorbike).
A summer spent on a motorbike would be cool, and getting hit by a car while on a bicycle can be just as bad as getting hit by a car while on a motorbike, but there’s something about skidding along the blacktop at sixty-five that isn’t appealing.
And as it’s taken me two years to mostly get over my knee injury, I don’t really want to repeat anything like that in the near future.
With the lockdown, I haven’t spent much money recently, but the odd book sale and a steady diet of online tutoring work has kept my income reasonable. So I’m going to treat myself. Question is, do I upgrade my soprano saxophone and spend the summer cycling around?
Or do I keep my current soprano and buy a motorbike?
I could do both but that seems greedy, so I’m doing one or the other. The Yanagisawa saxophone I want is about same same price as the Mutt Mongrel motorbike.
I know people who can write, and who want to write, but don’t. I know people who can play music, and want to play music, but don’t.
It’s easy to be creative, children are creative all day and every day, but we adults erect barriers, we find excuses, we prioritise other things, we avoid failure and embarrassment, we lose heart.
Songwriter and musician Mary Spender talks about how to get beyond those barriers, here.
My own feeling is pretty much summed up here:
Essentially, it’s all about the document.
Well, I remembered how to fasten the bowline (see below), which is a knot to tie a loop, but I’m struggling with the slipped buntline, which is a secure knot that can yet be untied with a single tug.
Re-learned how to tie a bowline knot today.
It’s a while since I tied one and I’d forgotten how to do it. It was like learning an entirely new skill. I’ve been repeating it on and off all day in the hope that it will imprint and then I can forget about it, but access the skill when necessary.
Tomorrow, the slipped buntline knot. For those fast getaways.
I studied McCarthy for my MA. He’s one of America’s greatest writers and in no way do I measure myself against him.
But I read that he is often engaged in writing a number of books at once: he writes part of one, then moves across to another, then a third, then back to the first, then the fourth and so on.
In that sense, we have a similar approach. I always have a number of projects on the go at once. Sometimes I’ll complete three books in the space of three months, sometimes I’ll not complete anything for eighteen months.
Currently I have four projects on the go – one is completed and only requires editing and artwork; the other three are in various stages of writing and/or redrafting. Plus I have another three or four that are mostly planned but not written or, in one case, written but not ready for a redraft (cos I haven’t devoted any thought to it in a while). I might complete two this year.
But I don’t stress about this approach, as chaotic as it might seem at times, because as Henslowe says in Shakespeare in Love: “strangely enough it all turns out well.”
Good enough for me.
There first of the Mark Barrett action/thriller novels, NQA is on free Amazon download from Monday to Friday this week.
Click image for link or look on Amazon for NQA: