Blog Archives

This is the Best Bit…

A person wrote a question on a FB writers group the other day, asking what people do to celebrate finishing writing a book.
Most people said start the next one. I concurred. I do also allow myself the luxury of going off the deep end into a new TV series, or season I’m already addicted to.
Or a big novel, like The Count of Monte Cristo last year when I finished the first draft of The Ecology of Lonesomeness.
But it’s only the first draft. And I certainly don’t do anything like buy something to celebrate, or take my wife out to dinner. I don’t take her out to dinner to celebrate her own achievements, and they are much more impressive than mine, so why would I do it to celebrate what’s not an achievement, but more like a milestone on a journey, albeit a very significant milestone?
I do celebrate when the book is published. I splashed out on a bottle of scotch to celebrate Leaving the Pack, and bought myself a cool pen for the publication of Five Days on Ballyboy Beach. Absinthe seemed appropriate for JD Martins’ novella One Night in Madrid. For The Ecology of Lonesomeness another bottle of scotch is on the cards – but a better one, and for The Soul of Adam Short, I’ve no idea. I don’t need much (apart from lots of liquor, it seems).
That’s not the most important part of the process for me, though.
Framing a copy of the cover is special.
But not nearly so rewarding, really, as starting a new outline, a set of frantically scribbled notes as a new story unfolds in my head, complete with all it’s attendant glorious absence of logic.
But the best bit of all? That’s what I just did this week: signing a contract and getting to write the back cover blurb, the dedication and the acknowledgments.
I usually have a rough draft of the blurb written. If I didn’t, I couldn’t send submissions in the first place. But the dedication I get to do from scratch. I never write that until a book has somewhere to go. And I probably never will.
Each of my books, with one exception, is dedicated to someone different. I like to find someone appropriate given the theme of the story. My parents and my family are thus yet to see a dedication. But theirs is coming. I hope.
As for acknowledgments, I delight in writing those, too.
Writing is a lonely business. It has always been for me. I never got much in the way of encouragement from my close family or friends (some, I suspect, are merely putting up with me until I make some money at this game… but don’t tell her I told you so). The people who do lend me a hand, therefore, even when I have had to nearly wrench it off their shoulders in the first place, well deserve their mention.

The End is Nigh

That feeling you get when you’re writing a novel and you finally get to the point where you can see your way out of the middle of the book and know there is an ending….

You’ve been trashing around the marsh that is the book’s middle for weeks and now, though you’re covered in mud and still have a slog through boot-sucking bog holes ahead, at least you know what direction you’re going, where the dry land is ahead, and that glimmer of hope you held for so long turns to confidence you’re not, in fact, going to sink into the middle of all this shit without even a story to show for it.

I got that today.

That means I deserve to start outlining the next project, right? Right? Oh…. oh well…

let me just get this boot back on…

 

Meanwhile, here are a couple of poems: one for easter, the other for spring. Yes, already distracted…

 

A Watcher on Calvary

 

A man named Barabbas was once heard sighing,

From an alley on the path to Calvary, upon spying

A raucous crowd, carrying crosses to the top, go by,

And saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

 

Spring Unfolds

 

Lured, like a bee to the bloom,

The scent of narcissus arrests my senses,

Dancing swallows draw eye away

From swirling script, distracted by the act;

Evening singing wins me over,

Dawn chorus charms me from my slumber,

Calling cuckoos invade my concentration.

 

The flowering pulls me from my room;

Sucking from the soil such beauty,

So I wish to sit before them, soaking

All they display, watching every form unfold.