Sunday, 30 December 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Here's a link to a website entitled Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age, which may help you to come up with some New Year's Resolutions if you are stuck for ideas.

As for me, I haven't made any New Year's Resolutions but I do have some vague hopes for next year which include getting another play produced, finishing the novel I'm writing, losing the weight I put on in 2007 and going to India. (There may be some opportunity for synergy with those last two).

Hooray for Blogging

I haven't been blogging much lately. This is because blogging is rather like airing your views at length while drunk in the pub, and because it has been Christmas I've been drinking a lot and doing just that. If you drink, it turns out there's simply no need to blog.

But Christmas is over and I'm back to writing, which means I'm not drinking, which means I'm back to blogging. When I started this, in April, I worried that it was rather a vain thing to do. It is, I suppose - but nothing compares to the egocentricity involved in sitting down and writing a novel, and I've done that several times, so actually I'm unembarrassed about this. It's just another way of communicating, isn't it?

What I hadn't taken into account was that I would make some lovely friends through blogging. I thought I had got to the stage in life when I didn't need any more friends but of course it's nice to drop some of the old ones every now and then, so you need to be grooming some new ones to take their place. Blogging is one way of doing that.

Back in the days before every home in this country had a computer (when chain letters came by postcard in the post rather than through email/Facebook - imagine that, you younger ones!) children who wanted to engage with the world were encouraged to have pen pals, to swap unwanted possessions through Noel Edmond's Swap Shop or write in to Jim'll Fix It. It seems to me that blogging, ebay and X Factor are grown-up versions of those three. I don't much care for ebay or X Factor but it turns out I rather like blogging.

So Happy New Year to you - and hooray for blogging.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Writing, Death and Dangerous Driving

Does anyone else have trouble getting time to write? I'm reading the Paris Review Book of Interviews (Vol II) at the moment. An assortment of famous writers are interviewed by various erudite American journalists. They ask the writers about their writing methods, among other things - how much they revise, how many words they try to do each day or whether they simply sit down and write for a set amount of hours, and so on. The methods are all slightly different but the one thing they have in common is that they all write.

I don't see how they do it. I have a daily target (number of words when I am writing, number of hours when I am re-writing) but I rarely get the chance to just sit down and do it- too many other things get in the way.

Yesterday, for example, the brakes failed on my car so I had to take it to the garage to get it fixed (it's OK, people don't use their brakes much in Brixton - I got there by driving very slowly on my gears. Same thing when my indicators failed last week - I am a very indicatory sort of driver usually but I sailed down to the garage without incident; you just turn when it suits you, nobody minds.)

Then we heard that one of my daughter's friends had died (yes, terrible, she was 21 years old) and so of course you make soup and vow to live a more interesting life (while noting the irony of the juxtaposition of those two activities).

Sure, it's not every day that you get a dose of death and dangerous driving. But still, what with smear tests, eye tests, going to Sainsbury's, making soup, walking the dog, harvesting dog shit, watching Cranford, watching The Wire (has anyone else noticed the similarities between those two programmes - you'll get a whole episode where nothing much happens but they are both enthralling) sleeping, blogging... there's simply no time for anything else. Is there?

Sunday, 9 December 2007

In Baltimore

I haven’t posted much on here lately because I’ve been in Baltimore. Not... literally. But I’ve been watching The Wire, which is set in Baltimore, and I’ve been doing that more than I’ve been doing any other thing, so it feels as real to me as my own life, as if I’m living in a dual reality.

I’ve been so busy watching DVDs, I haven’t got much writing done. I got stuck on that play again. The title I’ve got for it is Lost, which I don’t like much and which I have always thought I would change. Maybe I should go with It’s Going Really Well, Thanks, I Should Be Finished Quite Soon and see if that helps speed things along.

Anyway, after a bit of sulking and drinking – which didn’t work this time any better than it has in the past – and writing other stuff, I’ve got a solution for the play and I’m back on it. Arrigh’, as we say in Baltimore.