Lacking the creative juices

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The great artist in the sky is poised, pencil in hand, en train de dessiner.

He is drawing me.

Imagine the cartoon me. I’m sketchy and one-dimensional at present. I sit on a park bench along the Thames in the shade of a great plane tree. Millions of bottoms before me have sat on this very bench. Seagulls fly and cry high above me. Ducks drift past on the tide. I sit. I stare. The sun darts around in the soft breeze making patterns at my feet. Small boys kick a ball around on the field behind me and a jogger bounds past. The artist has drawn a thought bubble above my head. Save for the blurs and smudges from words hastily scrawled and then rubbed out, the bubble is empty.

I usually have quite a lot to say … perhaps, as Hubby suggests, I burble a bit.

Today the words elude me.

I’m not exactly sure what writers block is, but suddenly all the ideas I’ve had and my last few attempts at putting pen to paper (finger to keyboard) have just fallen flat.

It feels a bit like losing a coin under your car seat while driving. You know you had it, you have an idea where to find it, but you can’t see it. You can’t really get into a position to scratch around for it because the car is moving and you have places to go. Instead, you make a mental note to search again when … When? Some time.

Tuesday is my writing day.

But the thought bubble is blank and the coin I thought I had is proving difficult to find.

So, I’ve not achieved much on the writing front. But the whole day was not lost.

A great lover of sorting, cleaning, de-cluttering and throwing away, I put myself to the task today and that’s felt good. The spare room cupboard is now ready for my mama’s arrival on Saturday. Also, some house work is done and I’ve potted around the terrace (literally). The sun has been shining.

I know there will be better writing days.

And finally, at the end of the afternoon, I had a bit of a breakthrough on some story research I’ve been doing, the thread of which looked as though it had gone cold (apologies for the mixed metaphor). Happy days.

Whatever you are wrestling with, you might not figure it out today. Don’t stress, tomorrow is another day. Consider today your first draft!

Now I must change my jeans for something with an elasticated waistband. Hubby and I have been invited over to our Chinese neighbours for dinner. It’s always a feast. They have just returned from a cruise to Alaska. We will hear all about it tonight. They are great critics of 5 star accommodations abroad. I look forward to it!

P.s. Where I sat on the park bench, where time and tide and life busied past me, was once the Fulham Riviera – where the poor people around the Bishop of London’s estate went on sunny summer days. The wealthy Londoners went to Europe.
P.p.s. Our South African house plans continue in earnest. Is anyone interested in having a peek at the drawings?
P.p.p.s. Hubby and I went to see Dunkirk on the weekend – I seriously recommend it. Hubby’s theory is that it has a distinct Brexit narrative. Hmmm. If you think so too, here’s an interesting article to read.
P.p.p.p.s. I sincerely apologise for my last few ‘woe is me’ posts and my non-post today. More exciting times to come as we travel to Russia for 2 weeks in August!

Leaf by Niggle

“The bicycle was rolling along over a marvellous turf. It was green and close; and yet he could see every blade distinctly. He seemed to remember having seen or dreamed of that sweep of grass somewhere or other. The curves of the land were familiar somehow. Yes: the ground was becoming level, as it should, and now, of course, it was beginning to rise again. A great green shadow came between him and the sun. Niggle looked up, and fell off his bicycle. Before him stood the Tree, his Tree, finished.”

Leaf by Niggle by J.R.R.Tolkien

J.R.R. TOLKEINA funny little tale. Just 43 pages.

At the beginning of the Second World War J.R.R.Tolkien was called into active service. He’d been writing one book for some years. Now, he despaired of ever fully realising his work, The Lord of the Rings.

His characters and storyline were so grand. Worm-holes of plots and sub-plots had developed in his imagination, creatures and landscapes so ambitious, so intricate, he wondered if he could ever really put it all down on paper – or when even? Continue reading Leaf by Niggle

Your first draft has permission to suck!

Stephen king remembers adding another rejection slip to the nail under the rafter above his tiny desk in his loft room, “Then I sat on my bed and listened to Fats sing ‘I’m Ready’. I felt pretty good, actually. When you’re still too young to shave, optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.”

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Q: Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl in the toilet?
A: Because the ‘P’ is silent.

your first draft has permission to suck

I thought this was funny!

Where am I going with this?

The lead character in Death in Paradise (series 5:3), DI Humphrey Goodman, is a stereotypical bumbling, disheveled Englishman solving murder cases on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie.

He is lonely.

Encouragé by his islander colleagues (it’s a French island), he creates an online dating profile. That evening, having solved the crime, the murderer safely behind bars (cue the Agatha Christie formula), he is getting a lesson from his colleagues on how to talk to women. Continue reading Your first draft has permission to suck!

When worlds collide: our fertility story without a happy ending … yet!

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Have you ever imagined telling a personal story or making a confession?

our fertility storyIn the small hours of the night, when the seeds of the story begin to germinate, somehow the telling sounds better in your imagination. Such was the pattern of my thoughts a few nights ago, when I lay choked up with emotion and puffy-eyed, and Hubby suggested that I finally tell this story.

Deep disappointment is both difficult to carry alone and equally heavy to tell. Yes, we have told our immediate families and a couple of close friends. They have supported us in the best way they know how – sometimes helpful, at other times not so helpful, but always heartfelt. Continue reading When worlds collide: our fertility story without a happy ending … yet!

Little did she know

“If he could have died – like Nelson – in the hour of victory! Would it not have been better for him – happier for me? Often I thought so. For to fade slowly away; to lose his strength and fire and intelligence; to outlive his character, and no longer be himself! No, that could not be happiness!”

Jock of the Bushveld by Percy Fitzpatrick

jock of the bush veld filmI’ve finally finished reading Jock of the Bushveld. It was sometimes gripping, sometimes sad, and oftentimes hard going with antiquated, somewhat ungrammatical phrasing akin to the writing of it’s time – published in 1907. And an unnecessary over use of exclamation marks. It was a story I felt I knew well from having seen the film as a child and from Johnny Clegg’s ‘Great Heart’ music video and also in legend. Jock, in South African culture, is a legend of a dog and the stories of his conquests in the bushveld are told over and over again – how many dogs have since been named Jock? Continue reading Little did she know

January writer’s block: stalking me like a monster

“He was the crazy one who had painted himself black and defeated the world. She was the book thief without the words. Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.”

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

never give upI knew this day would come. It’s been lying in wait, holding on for just a Tuesday like this one to pounce – writers block! One writer described it as the bogeyman waiting in the mirror. I’m looking into the mirror now, and all I see is little old me, defenceless. January is one of those months – regenerative, scary and disappointing all wrapped into 31 cold, short days. It holds so much promise, but who can carry all that pressure without occasionally stumbling at the awesome weight of the load? Continue reading January writer’s block: stalking me like a monster