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!