The insertion of the Couch to 5k updates into my weekly roster has meant that I have slipped back into the 3 posts-a-week routine that I was finding so hard to maintain just a few short weeks ago. Somehow, it seems to be where I keep washing ashore, but it is not really ideal. I am fully aware that some posts do not sparkle as they should – that they could do with considerable ‘smartening up’, but often there is not time. I realise also, that my normally tenuous claim to publish ‘Humour’ is at times completely untenable: this is the house that the asthmatic wolf blew down. Sometimes when I force my brain into action it produces passable, but most often it coughs up something that was specifically banned from the buses of my youth. Often I have to physically start to write before I have any idea what is going to come out. The person that appears on paper is often quite different to the one who lives between my ears.
My head has started to cobble together the skeleton of a story that I would like, given time, to develop into a novel. It is a very long time since I have done this; definitely pre-blog, and the only thing that I truly remember about the process is how very time-consuming it all is. I do not know whether it will happen yet, I very much stumble into this kind of thing, but if it does start to happen, then blogging will almost certainly diminish a little. Please bear with me. I won’t stop, but I might become intermittent. Like ringworm, I might stop itching, but I will still be there.
The book is currently called (you guessed) ‘Working Title’ but that will change several thousand times during its gestation and birth. Often the titre du jour will be a reminder of where I am going – because what I write often strays so substantially away from my meticulously detailed plot (MDP) that I know that when I next sit down to write, whatever-it-was that I intended to supersede my previous MDP, will have evaporated into the thin-air between my ears and all that I will be able to do is to return to the original MDP leaving the previous day’s labours hanging behind like some kind of evolutionary dead-end. (You may have noticed that I have quite a gift for that.) Is this how parallel universes function? (Perhaps they were constructed before God had the opportunity to fully think through all the possible eventualities – which surely makes our own universe a very parallel one indeed.) Sometimes I will particularly like a phrase that I have written and will temporarily use that as a title until I get bored of it and so consumed by its triteness, that I strike it from the manuscript completely. Sometimes I will call it Kevin.
The MDP, by the way, usually amounts to variously coloured notes on a single sheet of a notebook. I have yet to write anything that finishes quite where it was expected to; the route it takes is always at considerable variance to the one I had planned, and characters pop into my head when I least expect them to and often I like them so much that I have to find them a role that heretofore had not existed. The whole thing remains in a state of flux (Can you remain in a state of flux?) until such time as it is finished, which is when, usually, I start again. The ‘Big Joke’ often occurs to me at the very end and then has to be retrospectively woven through what I had originally written with no knowledge of it. I would like to be more organised; I have tried, but what I get is a logical progression of sterile consequences that makes me yearn for the wit and whimsy of Tolstoy and, whilst the brain is led through it all by a subconscious sat-nav – avoiding side streets, fords and unlisted cul-de-sacs – it arrives at its dénouement unchallenged and in need of half an hour in the soft-play area. I need a maze. I need dead ends and wrong ways and unexpected Follies and benches to picnic on and steps to stand on and an exit that isn’t where I expected it to be. That’s the way it is.
So each evening I sit down and read what I have written the day before and think about where I can go from there; what else might be happening elsewhere in my little world; how might somebody else have viewed the same events and then I write, with the broad sweep of where I am going in the back of my mind, but happy to let it put its feet up for a while and have a rest. I, meanwhile, attempt to harness the ephemera and persuade it to pull the cart in roughly the right direction for a little while and it’s all frighteningly unprofessional I know, but I am content with that. Nobody’s paying me after all and at least that way I know exactly what it is that I don’t have a clue about how to do… I think.
*What I put at the head of the page when I have no idea what I am going to write about – and sometimes, when I have no idea what just happened.
This is, in part, a short answer for Inkbiotic. I will return to more later…