Thursday, 16 May 2013

Local arts centres and readings

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (from  most of you) there is a small town.

In the small town, there is a cinema.

This is where you go to watch films. Duuhh!

It’s also where you go, apparently, to read your works in progress. They have open-mic nights and writers’ workshops.

This Sunday, I’m going to read something of mine to an audience. It might be one, it may be hundreds.  This is a new experience for me. I’m used to public speaking, but I’m not used to reading my stuff. Will it do anything for anyone?

I’m not used to writers’ workshops either, but there is one at the tail end of July. Any use? I don’t know.

I have my doubts about both these events (little sceptic me) but I’ll give them a go.

If I survive maddened throngs, I’ll report back on the experience.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

New Routines

This is the start of my last era. It is to be hoped I’ll have a quarter of a century of writing, leisure and enjoyment.

To refresh your memories, I retired from employment at the end of 2012, vowing never to work for anyone else again. Over thirty years with a variety of employers, I found I always ended up working for a bunch of assholes.

So, I’ve become self-employed, because, as my wife says, I’m a complete asshole. So now, I’m working for the best.

It has taken us about six weeks to get a phone line and Broadband. We’ve had the wiring and electrics sorted out. All that remains is double glazing and some small bits of building work. Oh, and an ambitious water garden project that I can probably stretch out over the next decade. Well, proper planning is vitally important, don’t you think?

We have now developed (perhaps fallen into is a better description) a nice routine that allows for all facets of life to be enjoyed to the full.

I get up about half-six, do the usual—mugs of tea, cigarettes, shuffle round looking for my spectacles (I have three pairs now, and none of the pairs is ever to hand when I need them. They’re always in that mythical place ‘Elsewhere’.) Then wash, dress and breakfast. I start writing at eight o’clock (-ish) and carry on till eleven when the post arrives.

An hour of dealing with bills and incompetence, answering emails and so on, is followed by an afternoon that can involve reading, walking, fishing, gardening, household repairs or pub lunches (or any combination of those elements). Next Sunday, it will involve taking part in a beach clear-up, disposing of litter and plastic waste.

Then it’s time for supper, followed by a couple of hours writing and a couple of hours reading. Sometimes we go to the cinema instead. Recently we’ve seen Die Hard with a Vengeance, Welcome to the Punch, Oblivion and a remastered version of Lawrence of Arabia. Next week it’ll be Star Trek. I’ve been out with my wife more often in the last six weeks than in the previous six years.

To bed at pumpkin time and repeat the following day. I tend to lose track of what day it is, since they’re all the same and all so good.

The cinema also doubles as an arts venue, but more on that in the next post.

I’ve finished compiling an anthology of short stories called Darkstone Tales, Volume One, to be produced on the Internet (POD or download). Sadly, it’s about forty thousand words too short, so I’m writing a couple of novellas to round it out. More on that later as well.

So, a full and oddly satisfying life. It’s strange how contentment grows in inverse ratio to debts and in direct ratio to free time. Being in control of your life, able to decide what you do every hour; choosing how little or how much to do every day—these are the things that lead to true fulfilment. I think the psychological term (Maslow and his hierarchy of needs) is ‘self-actualization’.

Until the next time—enjoy!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Yet another year!

It seems a long time ago I wrote wishing my readers a happy new year.

Well, it was a long time ago! January 1st, 2012 to be precise. I haven’t posted anything else since.

Mea culpa and all that…

Anyway, happy new year once again.

Things in my life have changed a lot since a year ago.

My mother died in late March, and I’ve had to spend a lot of time sorting out legal stuff – probate, executing the will and preparing to move to the house we inherited in Wales.

Work at Worcester College of Technology got more and more intense, with fewer staff and an increased workload for those of us that remained.

I gave up smoking for six months, started again, gave up again and started again. (Have I counted those right? Stop, start, stop start… yes, I think that’s correct.)

My wife celebrated, if that’s the right word, her sixty-fifth birthday in November.

At about the same time, probate was sorted out. With some money come some options and work became intolerable.

I resigned from Worcester College of Technology in December. At the end of March this year, my wife and I will be moving to Mid Wales for good, after selling the house in Malvern. The plan is to spend six  hours per day writing/editing/rewriting and submitting manuscripts. Add to that some third party editing, some website design and creating interactive educational resources and I’ll be as busy as ever. It’s just that the emphasis will have shifted much more to the writing side.

A few years ago, I wrote a post describing a production-line style of writing, applying standard times and operations for the various phases of fiction production (rewrite, line edit and so on).

It is with a degree of humility (a rare feeling for me, don’t get used to it) that I look back on the confident predictions I made at the start of last year. None of them came to pass. But now, at least, I have enough of a backlog, with the recent addition of a Nano first draft, to implement this industrial approach to the writing process.

Yes, I know I’m looking on the bright side of things. Well. why not? With such a complete change in lifestyle, location and occupation, I have to be excited. Or dead.

In various stages of completion we have:

  • 6 novels
  • 1 novella
  • 5 screenplays
  • 3 anthologies

In later posts I’ll let you know how the production cycle is working out. Right now, I’m finalising exactly how the factory process is to be put into action.

When I’ve worked out the snags and am ready to get into full flow, which should be Monday 28th Jan, one week away, I’ll share the details with you.

Yes, I know you were going to ask for the details,  so I thought I’d save you the embarrassment Smile

Till then, enjoy!