Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Write. Write. Right? Right.

On March 11th, I ended a posting with the words ‘So now, after all that, no excuses. Let writing commence.’ Which proves that this whole blogging business is fundamentally flawed. You can say what you like about anything and, as long as you don’t actually write the words down, you can always retract or amend or otherwise neuter them. But the minute they’re in print (or in whatever the medium is that makes these letters form on your screen), they’re immutable, they’re FACTS.

(OK, I know for the married people among you, the same is true of speech. You’ll all have been faced with – or yourself said – something like ‘But I remember you saying how much you liked Rock Hudson’ or ‘Why don’t you like that shirt I bought? Blue’s your favourite colour. You told me that one Tuesday afternoon in 1986.’)

So, a confession: while some writing has ‘commenced’ (blogs, reviews, emails, interviews, flash fiction and tiny stories for the highly entertaining, the particular task I was referring to back then is still embryonic. Oh, I have plenty of excuses, some of them even legitimate, but it’s salutary to reflect that when I wrote that, I meant it. OK, I’m still waiting for permission to look at some literature on early 19th century melodramas and the decision to read Charlotte Bronte to get more of a feel for the period has eaten into my time, but now other things are clamouring for attention.

Soon, the proofs for The Figurehead will be arriving because that’s due to appear in May. There’s also a May deadline for short stories for the annual Crime Writers’ Association anthology (this year’s theme – Original Sins). And an email yesterday confirmed that I’ll be writing two more books in the Brilliant series, both of which need to be finished before October. I say all this not to boast or tell you how important I am (you know that already), but to reinforce my advice to be careful what you blurt out in unguarded moments. I think in future I’ll only say ‘Let writing commence’ or the equivalent when I’ve already finished the work in question.

And none of this leaves time to develop the guru persona I was so intent on projecting a while back. So I need to reel you back in and continue the indoctrination process. Remember then, O Children of the Oasis …
the midnight butterfly sings no dirges
unbridled passion is merely a fragment of the silver spiral of consent
when the salmon leaps, the quivering petals succumb
and chocolate is brilliant, especially with nuts in it.

So now let (pick a noun) (pick a verb).

Oh, by the way, for those of you who don't visit Facebook often (or at all), I've posted the prologue of The Sparrow Conundrum there. It's not long, and it's supposed to be funny (just in case that isn't obvious).


  1. Go forth and multiply?

    BTW, you're good. And even better when you're irreverant. Which is most of the time really.

  2. You've got me bang to rights, guv. And thanks.

  3. Good advice, Bill, but what do the shaggy cattle have to do with it? :)

  4. Jean, I could no doubt invent some spurious rationalisation for using the picture but there isn't one. They're just some Highland cattle we met on the Isle of Skye.

  5. I can inform you that what you write about married couples also goes for the ones that skipped the ceremony. I assume you are talking about women here. The question is why do 'we' remember all these things? (Jean, do you know?)

    And thanks a lot for mentioning my Rammenas blog as entertaining. Thanks to great writers such as you and your brother I would say.

  6. Well, Anneke, I wasn't suggesting it's an exclusively female trait. I have male friends with the same propensity - but I don't live with them.

    I, needless to say, am free from all flaws.

  7. You can tell that from your blog, Bill. Flawless. I believe it was you and Michael who prompted me to post my grand plan on the web last week. Most of the time I'm embarrassed by the followup. This week I'm happy to say I've had success.

    I love cows. Didn't see many of them growing up in D.C. Hmm, that would have made a good 'one thing you don't know about me' for Michael's anniversary blog.

    Love the Rammenas blog, Anneka.

  8. Let conscious quivers extrapolate!

  9. Glad to hear of the success, Marley. Here's looking forward to much more.

    As for 'Let conscious quivers extrapolate', I fear you've been using the nonsense generator too assiduously. Either that or you've been reading May Contain Nuts again and your mind has been contaminated.

  10. Aw, Highlander cattle. They are so cool. A neighbor just across the border in Canada used to keep a herd, and I loved driving past and seeing them.

  11. I agree, KL. Although I once did a parachute jump for a TV programme and landed in a small field full of them. It was only afterwards that I was told they could be quite aggressive, despite their appearance. Luckily that lot weren't.

  12. My daughter is doing a parachute jump this Saturday for a non-profit she's helping to raise funds for. She's petrified of heights and is nervous. I think I'll tell her about your "cattle landing" after the jump, Bill.

    Any good advice for her?

  13. Myabe that's wise, Linda. I hate heights, too, but the strange thing was that, after the bucking about of the little aircraft I was in, it was a relief to find myself floating down in absolute silence.