Thursday, 1 July 2010
We leap from moment to moment and none of them lasts. But, even though it’s only as memories, the feelgood (or feelbad) factor of each of them blends with all the rest and gives us a sensation that does join them up and give the impression of continuity.
I know, I know – what the hell’s he talking about? Well, I was just reflecting on recent incidents and the accidental nature of everything and pretending to philosophise about them all. Instead, I’ll just tell you what they were.
The ongoing fact is that I’m still writing these two books, but occasionally I stop, take a rest from them and do something else. With the appearance of a strange round yellow thing in the sky on Tuesday, I decided I needed some oxygen, so I drove to a local hill and walked up it. It’s only about 1000 feet, probably less than that, but the views from the top are terrific, you’re all alone, and the only sounds are birds and rustlings in the heather it’s probably best not to think about. And it’s so different from sitting at a keyboard that it feels as if you’ve achieved something.
Then, on the way home, I stopped at the River Feuch and watched the salmon trying their incredible leaps up the falls. I don't think I've ever seen one actually make it to the top so it's a perfect symbol of the good old Sisyphus syndrome (even though they do obviously make it otherwise there wouldn't be any of them left).
Then … No, I’ll save the next ‘then’ for last.
Meanwhile, e-book and e-serial instalments of The Figurehead have been dropping into my inbox, the book’s on sale in the USA, and ought soon to be available here, too. And the garden’s lush and overgrown, which is how I like it. And I’ve started carving an owl for my sister. And the World Cup gave me an excuse to watch telly (even though it’s been the worst one I can remember).
Then there was a suggestion from Michael (of May Contain Nuts fame – and probably several other fames, few of which can be mentioned in mixed company), that it might be fun for him to interview me. I agreed and it turned out that it was. Over a few days, we exchanged sub-Wildean wit and some deep thoughts about crime-writing and you can now read the result on May Contain Nuts. It provoked some nice comments from Facebook friends but won’t make either of us rich.
So all of these things produced little (or large) reactions and gave an impression of variety, change, surprise – and I love unpredictability. But then, and this bit concerns several of you personally, came a surprise to add even more to the mix. Diane (DragonLady) Nelson is a prolific writer and editor. It was she who supplied the first response to my call for ingredients for what became Dinsdale the whale. But then, when both parts had been posted, she surprised me by asking if she could include it in her latest book – Shotgun Shorts. Needless to say, I jumped at the idea and so now those of you who contributed other elements of the story can see them in print (and on screens). I’ve acknowledged you all by name so future literary historians will one day be researching what they’ll probably call ‘The Dinsdale Collective’.
And it’s all these things, these little shifts of chance, alleyways, ring roads, that keep feeding different responses into life and give us an impression of duration, continuity. Which, when really all we are is poised on a ‘now’ which never lasts, is somehow reassuring.
I bet you wish I was still doing cop-out blogs.