Writing is a lonely pastime that needs discipline at its core. I have failed lamentably this year. Consequently my novel “Where the swallows fly” sits unfinished and unloved in the deepest innards of my computer. There remains a low flame to persevere and complete. Maybe I am afraid where the tale will take me, to the beginning of my end.
Like many writers of limited talent I think I am at my best when I write about sad things. If I weep when I write, it’s usually pretty good. When I sit with my mind open to the drafts of ordinary ideas, then I clam up. Making the ordinary extraordinary is a splendid talent and one which I lack.
The political shenanigans that have gone on are beyond imagination, who could imagine Trump or Brexit? Surely extraordinary from the most ordinary expectations.
My trouble is I always revert to the ordinary which may be accurate but its not what the reader wants. He wants to be transported to the extraordinary, be it in a love story, an adventure, or a tragedy.
I am reading Max Hastings on the History of Vietnam, before I journey there on my upcoming vacation. The reading experience is extraordinary because this work gives me a completely new view if Vietnam and its people. I shall go there now much humbler, not the jolly tourist more the gentleman visitor. I am once more reminded of man’s inhumanity to man. How the Vietnamese have suffered. How little I knew. Max Hastings reveals a modern tragedy that as a young man I only noted as a folly of the United States, not as the suffering and subjugation of a whole nation by a succession of colonisers and invaders.
I have lived through some dreadful events that though moving and sad, I remained aloof, remotely sympathetic. Today I noted that the young woman Ariana Grande has politely turned down an honour from our Queen. She said, I understand, that she was, with others, still grieving for the victims of the Manchester tragedy and now is not the time to accept honours or accolades. How splendid she is, what an example to us all. I must confess to being moved by her gentle wisdom and warm-warmheartedness. I hope she flourishes and continues to be an example to old and young alike. I hope some author picks up her story and that some goodness can come from the horror of the Manchester Arena tragedy.
I have read a lot of poetry this year and written a little myself. Sadly very few read poetry, which seems forlorn but I note also the rise in rap and rapping, surly a form of poetry even if I find it difficult to understand. The merging of these cultures is seeing the renaissance of the genre. I am glad even if I don’t comprehend.
I guess my new year’s resolution should be to buckle down, and conjure the extraordinary from daily dross. Maybe “Where the swallows fly” will turn out to be an extraordinary book. I wish!