Blogging is a strange thing to do. With an idea, or more usually an irritation, comes vast quantities of literary histamine, which builds up until the fingers erupt in pustules of words, rancid and stinking as they drip onto the virtual page.
I ought to be out in the sun, topping up my vitamin D levels, balancing my life, inhaling the essence of spring which even the wood pigeons have smelt. Instead, I sit inside, with a sore shoulder, a veritable Job-lot of other aches and pains, and I bludgeon my way through the difficult first chapter of my new work. It is a short story, or possibly a novella, or perhaps even a full-length novel. I simply don’t know. I’m going to let it make up its own mind.
It’s a very strange feeling, writing with only the loosest of plans from which to draw. I simply do not know what the second chapter will bring, though I suspect it already does. My job, it seems, is to simply allow it to be.
As a musician, I was known for my technical ability. To me, it was about headroom and freedom. It was about knowing that when I started to play, I could pretty much let myself go, as it was unlikely that my technique would break down in any serious sense. There might be the odd glitch, but when you hear a player (by which I mean a virtuoso) play something ‘not quite so’ you should be thankful. Assuming they’re neither drunk nor bored, you’re hearing them in the act of reaching for something. They may fail to grasp it, but they have the imagination and the chutzpah to go for it. They are like the sportsman who goes for something special, not because they want to show off, but because they see an opening. In short, we’re all going, but we might as well go trying than retiring. Reach for something.
This, I hasten to add, is not from the same stable as ‘impossible is nothing’, or ‘fight, the unwinnable fight’. People cite these as evidencing the indominability of the human spirit. They are, however, indications of utter stupidity. Impossible is impossible. If you can do it, someone was lying to you. The unwinnable fight is unwinnable. You either run, or find a way of turning it into a winnable one.
So. I write a ‘thing’. I don’t really know what’s happening in it, though as a sort-of science fiction thing I have had to create an entire world-view. This is quite difficult. You can trust me on this one …
So, I have to trust myself, trust in my technique, trust that it will turn these feelings that I have surrounding my characters into the prose I want. I have to have faith in myself.
Now, that’s a difficult thing to do, when my body’s rebelling against the very things which make it worthwhile, and make it what it is. Trusting my brain to come up with the goods when it can’t produce enough of the chemical that allows my brain and body to act in concert. The left hand that controls the cricket bat, the ‘e’s’, the fork, the coffee mug … that left hand is flawed. And yet I write a books with sinister overtones.
Perhaps that’s where my dopamine goes – into my prose.
Well, they do say that when one door shuts, another opens. It’s bollocks, of course, but sometimes, just sometimes, these platitudes have a basis in the real world.