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Four Years On

I started working on this ridiculous time vampire of a book just over four years ago.

With the recent coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi I am reminded every day that in four years I’ve still not managed to finish it.

I enjoyed the 2010 Olympics, had great fun watching the downhill, the snowboard-cross and ski-cross (nutters), and I especially enjoyed watching the bob-sled teams. The competition may have been gripping enough but, at the time, I only had eyes on the brakemen as I suddenly realised that some of them were the build I was thinking of for Gihon and I began to make notes …

Like Lia – what has changed in fours years?

Not a lot.

The loft is still not finished.
A year of therapy to try and stop feeling such a failure (on a break at present).
Still in a dead end day job.
Still struggling with CFS/ME.

150K + words in and I’ve still not got things sorted.

I’m not good at finishing things. Finishing things means I will be inviting criticism. That wouldn’t be too bad but I’m guessing all I’ll get is ignored.

At one point I thought I had an obvious ending, but that was too obvious. Now I am in a sea of greys, no black, no white to my conclusions and the more I have left my ‘bad guy’ in the shadows the more I felt sorry for him. One problem was that he was in the shadows so much I couldn’t see him at all. Now I can see him – progress of a sort – and he was never a bad guy, just lonely.

I keep telling myself just to sit down and get on with it. I hadn’t realised that writing was just as much of a habit as anything else. A habit I seem to have forgotten. Even these meagre words have taken weeks to complete as I start and stop and distract myself with distraction (then go off to look for the Four Quartets again as my head fills with stray TS Eliot).

Odd, the things that come back to you, the detritus of lessons I couldn’t remember when I needed them at A level and now the words swirl around my head and I start to think that maybe nothing I have is original. Is my head just a filter, rearranging random words and images from everything I’ve ever read or seen before? As an eighteen year old Eliot entranced me, confused me … crushed me. I have the words in my head living a life independent of the original text. So easy to go back to now the internet is our memory but do I still want to be reminded of how little I am?

From East Coker (V)

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years-
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres-
Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate,
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate – but there is no competition –
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

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Oh no – pressure!

Anyone who finds this … you know it isn’t really real don’t you?

I’m sure you are all a figment of my (tormented) imagination. But now, shock horror, I’ve had some comments back that are not just the usual spambot adverts.

Maybe they are clever spambots. Maybe they are like actual people. I’m in a tizz. What to do about actual people stumbling across Planet Andrea? What happens when someone else pops up in the middle of a monologue (I checked, I’m sure it wasn’t me commenting on myself – it was vaguely complementary.)

I’m going to have to start thinking properly about posts, and layout, and readability and all those odd kinds of grown up things I’ve been ignoring. There are lots of buttons to click and widgets to wrangle. I’m not certain I can take the pressure.

On the basis that this is a most excellent diversion from anything at all constructive I’ve even downloaded the WordPress app for Blackberry. Female but not feminine was a little bit of something niggling away at the back of my mind so the BB came in handy to exorcise that in the wee small hours one night. I spend a lot of time analysing myself and some of the daft things I do. I’ve noticed now, however, that I tend to talk to myself in the form of blog posts so I expect there will be quite a bit more of that when I get into the swing of things. I do have an awful lot to get of my chest, maybe saying it without believing anyone will take notice or will hold me to it might help me work through it.

Much cheaper than actual therapy.

And the real reason for the site? How is that coming on?

Well, I’ve notice that in trying to cut my torrent of drivel down to manageble sizes I’ve discovered a few things.

  1. It’s amazing how many times you can read something and not notice the typos until you change the font/layout/formatting. I’m not saying I’ve got all of them but it has been nice to clean away some garbage.
  2. I do rather go on and on. What I consider manageable is gargantuan on line so apologies for anyone daft enough to click the links for the book pages. I do understand that it is harder to read something on line than in print format.
  3. It’s helped me realise that some bits – however much I like the ideas in them – can just be ditched. So they have.
  4. Posting can help writing. Writing does not seem to assist posting. I cannot do both.
  5. I’m not good at thinking up chapter titles.
  6. All writing needs discipline.
  7. About discipline …. ooh look, over there, something shiny!

And one of the strangest things that I have to admit to … I have a main character have a little rant about all the demanding little voices of the blogosphere, ranting and opinionated and ceaselessy spewing words to contribute to the downfall of society and now I am one of them (I haven’t posted that section yet, it makes sense in context.)

So

Anyway, just a little post to say that a couple of people who do not appear to be spambots have found me, dropped by and said hello. Very odd. Really.

And I’ve notice that my internal voice has slowly morphed into something like Eddie Izzard but not as clever, witty or charismatic. I know no one else can hear it but I am deeply, deeply sorry about that.