Friday, 22 August 2014


I have a friend who goes abroad so often that when she returns she launders her clothes then packs them again. Her suitcase is ready for the next trip. This morning I have to pack mine. In it are the usual things but I always manage to forget something then have to buy it. I should have made a list.

After months of rewrites I'll be able to unwind but for a writer that probably means something totally different than for most people. A new place, new people, new conversations are like opening a door to a new world and through it the writer steps - open to everything, absorbing it all and then cherry-picking what to take home. It will end up in a scene, dialogue, a character's appearance or just seeing a sign above a doorway can trigger an idea.

Most of all I'm looking forward to my early morning beach walks. Watching the world busily getting ready for a new day on shore, just being a short distance away but looking at it from the sea's perspective. I know I'll be immersed in new ideas and I can almost feel the sea breeze on my face (odd! as I'm writing, I just received a tweet from a Twitter-buddy @KimSea2shore about early morning beach walks - might see you then Kim!).

And, the beauty is that when I return I can put to good use all the wonderful memories and experiences.

A photo I took on a previous trip - it reminded me of something out of Star Wars

Friday, 15 August 2014

Lives under a microscope

It's been a strange week...

News of Robin Williams came as a shock. It was one of those bolts from the blue. I don't follow celebrity gossip or news much so I wasn't aware of the problems he'd suffered.

I was still in the throes of rewrites but had to take a break. As I clicked my electric kettle for tea, it came to me that all the small tasks we perform each day we take for granted. We go about our business, sometimes automatically. We think about what needs doing next, the following day or a holiday that will take us away from the thousands of small tasks we perform. At that moment, I felt the importance of small tasks. I don't often think 'in the moment.' I found myself saying:
"I can do this. I can make tea and then continue rewrites. Robin cannot."
Suddenly my day seemed to stretch out before me.

I felt extremely sad that someone had found their problems so intolerable that they'd become frozen within them then couldn't see any way out, except one. Over tea, I told my teen son:
"It must be terrible to have become so overcome that you resort to suicide.
He said:
"You'd have to be in a bad place to do it."
I agreed but he looked at me with a funny look on his face then said:
"What if, there wasn't any other way out?"
I wasn't sure what he meant.
"What if, the mafia were after you, their top hit-men. You knew that wherever you went they'd find you?"
I thought:
'Trust him to think along those lines.' I told him:
"In that case I'd have to try to get them first. At least I'd go out trying."
"What if, you had a disease and no cure. You knew that your natural end would be bad?"
"That would be a hard one. You'd have to decide while you were still able to do it yourself. You couldn't put that responsibility on someone else, not if you wanted to go peacefully."
"What if, you lost everything. Your relatives, husband, money, house, everything?"
"Then, I'd have to start again at Year Zero."
"What if, you lost yourself?"
That question I couldn't answer. It seemed ironic that my rewrites involved a Reverend who did exactly that.

Later this week I heard that Lauren Bacall had died, aged 89. She's one of those Hollywood icons who instantly brings to mind sultry beauty. She continued to look good in old age, not full of plastic. I couldn't help but think how she had lived to "a good age" as most people say. I couldn't help but make a comparison with Robin. 

Yes, it's been a strange week. I don't think I can ever watch a Robin Williams film in the same way again. I was reminded of Peter Sellers. I remember watching a film called Being There. Maybe, instead of watching one of the film tributes on telly, I'll watch that. It was a pity that Robin never made the remake.


Friday, 8 August 2014


I have had two solid weeks of juggling work, writing, school summer holiday, booking a decent holiday and having work done to the house (still ongoing). I remember a time when one of these juggling balls wasn't part of the mix - writing. Now, its a daily activity and at weekends I've had my fingers unpeeled from my laptop by my family so that I can relax.

But, as a writer, how do you explain to someone that it isn't working, it's pure pleasure?  Now, don't get me wrong, there have been days and nights when it has felt like work but that is usually during the editing and rewriting phase. The majority of the time is like sitting on a beach with a good book.  It's the same experience of being able to sit quietly and immerse oneself in a story while everyone else is running around like headless chickens. The ultimate pleasure is that the book is whatever I want it to be. It becomes a personal challenge.

Juggling work, writing and life
I have more to do. The juggling continues and with it comes a great sense of satisfaction. Being so busy, I've had a boost of adrenalin, ideas are flowing. Good things are happening.

For all writers and readers out there, I hope you get chance to sit quietly this weekend. Juggling will begin again on Monday!