A week or so ago I was getting on really well with my novel doing 500 to 1000 words a day but then my enthusiam waned and now I’m lucky now to do 100 words a day. I don’t know why I do this; it’s not because I’ve lost enthusiasm for the project and I do want to finish it but as soon as I think about sitting down to write I just feel a wave of apathy sweep over me and so I end up writing nothing at all. Of course once that happens, I then feel guilty for not writing anything and then blame myself for being useless and apathetic and then I feel worse. I wish I was one of those conscientious people who could write for hours at a time but the truth is for me that I always tend to write in dribs and drabs; doing a page then getting bored and doing something else before coming back to do another page. It’s just me but that’s the way I work, I do have four planets in Gemini, you know!
I have had huge experience of embarassing myself in public but one of the worst experiences was at the ticket office of Bristol Bus Station. I was in a hurry as I had about ten minutes to queue up, buy my ticket, stash my luggage and get on the coach before it left. I finally got to the front of the queue and I put my handbag on the counter which was quite high up; I had to lean on the counter with my elbows to give you some idea of how high it was. Anyway the woman punched her computer and told me the price and then she asked if I had some change because she was running low. I delved into my handbag looking for my purse but my handbag fell off the counter and landed upside down on the floor. Naturally everything fell out including a newly opened box of tampons that scattered their contents all over the floor of the ticket office so that I had to frantically chase the bloody things all over the floor. I could have died!
It is part of the human condition to always doubt ourselves. There is nothing wrong with wondering if what you’re doing is right; in many cases it just shows that you care because you’re worried about upsetting people. And because none of us really know for certain what tomorrow will bring, this sense of not knowing makes us tentative and doubtful. If I do this,that or the other, will it work out? Who knows? But if we don’t try, we don’t get. Life is full of risk and in the end you have to take chances otherwise you wouldn’t be living. A lot of people are afraid of dying but to my mind it seems to be a shame to be afraid of living. As I have just said, a certain amount of doubt is inevitable but you should try not to let the doubts control you; it should always be the other way round.
And finally, always suspect people who say they have all the answers. Never trust anyone who doesn’t doubt themselves for as W.B.Yeats said “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” People like Hitler and Stalin rarely doubted themselves because they were arrogant psychopaths; I’d rather be a doubter than be like that.
Today is the anniversay of the death of Elvis Presley. As anyone with taste and distinction will recognise, this was a tragic loss, not just because he was arguably the greatest male vocalist ever but because he was a decent man. Everything I’ve heard about him has been good apart from perhaps his eating habits. He had impeccable manners, never trashed hotel rooms or bad maouthed journalists, he didn’t get involved in fist fights or slap his girlfriend/wife around. If the worst thing you can say about someone is that he ate too much then he can’t have been that bad. It’s a pity that a great many of the so-called stars of today don’t behave with the same degree of civility as Elvis. He truly was The King.
One of the things that makes me human is my curiosity. As a fairly typical Gemini, I’m more curious than most. It would be a shorter list to tell you what I’m not interested in than to list all the things I am into. Just about any subject fascinates me and I read books, flick through magazines, surf the internet, watch TV and listen the the radio all the time (not quite all at the same time although sometimes it does get close to it!) But the thing that interests me most is people; in truth I want to know just about everything about just about everyone. Now some people (like my husband) say that this is just because I’m nosy, and yes that is a part of it, but I think that knowledge leads to understanding and it is said that people tend to hate what they’re most afraid of. Surely the better I know you, the more I can understand you.
Also there is the stark fact that knowledge is power; the more you know and understand then the better equipped you are to deal with all the problems that this complicated and difficult world throws up. Some say that ignorance is bliss but I don’t agree.
Okay here’s another list because I just like doing lists but this one is about the things that make me human. They’re not in any particular order and the list is not definitive but the first one I’m going to write about is compassion. It’s compassion that makes us care about other people; it’s that little bit inside of you that imagines what its like to be someone else and feels for that person’s pain, even if they’re a complete stranger. It’s that spark that makes you want to reach out and help the next person if you think they’re suffering. In my opinion compassion is the highest form of love because it doesn’t rely on physical appearance or whether you find someone attractive, it just relies on your humanity.
Of course there are people who are totally devoid of compassion and they are known as sociopaths but I can say that I’m very glad I’m not one of them. Recent events, although very bad, have in their aftermath highlighted many people’s compassionate nature and that cannot be a bad thing.
Unless you’ve been living on the moon you must be aware of all the rioting that’s been taking place in Britain over the last few days. Shops and houses have been torched, there’s been widespread looting and many people have been attacked and beaten up. I understand that in the original arrest of a drug dealer in Tottenham he was shot dead by the police and now the ballistics report has said he had a gun but it hadn’t been fired. Yes, this does raise questions about police behaviour and yes the lack of opprtunities for poor young men and women on the fringes of society are practically non-existent but this should not lead to the level of criminality and violence that we have been seeing on our streets. Disadvantaged young people need opportunities and they need to have their aspirations raised but they must also understand that anything worth having usually involves a lot of hard work. I hate to sound like a Daily Mail reader but everyone needs to know that they are resonsible for their actions.
But there is some good news and that is that in amongst all the chaos and disquiet ordinary British people are coming together; bonding in their communities and forging links to clear up the mess. All this aggravation has strengthened our sense of community and helped us to reach out a helping hand to those who really need it. As in all times of trouble, it brings people out of themselves; the bad people will release their nastiness but the good people will dig deep and bring out their best and it is all the signs of goodness that give us hope for the human race. From people defending their temples to simply bringing brooms to clear up; the vicar of Ealing said so many people came to help with the clearing up that he had to turn most of them away. So never give up believing in goodness and what it can achieve. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing but good people usually find that when faced with evil they can’t just do nothing, they feel prompted to act; that’s what makes them good.
Okay, last post on this list for now. The books I’ve chosen are all books that have influenced me greatly and so I can’t fail to mention one book that has had an enormous impact on my life and that is my first novel called Blood Addiction. Don’t bother looking for it on the bookshelves because it never made it that far; but it took me two years to write it and I realised a tremendous amount about being a writer and particularly being a novelist through doing it. Sent it off to over fifty publishers and it got rejected by everyone. Got so depressed that I gave up writing for a while but a friend who’s a literary agent read it and said it was extremely well written so over time I got my confidence back.
Because it was the first novel I ever wrote Blood Addiction will always have a place in my heart. It is available for sale, you can find it as an e-book on Amazon although they have over priced it! It’s also available on a website called iWriteReadRate and it is a lot cheaper on that one!
Despite the difficulties I now know that this is the book that made me a writer.
I went over to see a friend many years ago and because of the trains ended up being a bit late and staying later than I had anticiapated. This meant that I missed the last train home and so she kindly said I could stay for the night. But of course because I hadn’t been expecting to stay over I had bought nothing to read. I was only about seventeen or so at the time and my friend knew I liked poetry so she lent me the Complete Poems of John Donne to read before I went to sleep. I went to the room I’d been allocated and thought I’d just have a quick read before turning in. But I was up till three o’clock in the morning reading these fantastic poems!
The strength and passion and irregular rhythms that bind them are so overwhelmingly brilliant; I had never read anything like it! Donne is one of the greatest poets ever and if I had to pick one I just couldn’t, so I’m simply going to recommend them all!
My next book on my favourites list is The Complete Poems of W.B.Yeats by, you’ve guessed it, W.B.Yeats. In my opinion he just wrote the best poetry ever! I think Easter 1916 is my favourite but I am liable to change my mind. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, The Fiddler of Dooney and Long Legged Fly are also wonderful. And there are so many others that I struggle to remember the titles of them all! Shame on me, I know! I always travel with a volume of poetry and I think people who don’t are philistines!