Monday, May 20, 2013

Las Albadas Day 6,729 - In which rural Spain in high summer gives the Antarctic a run for its money. And my splendid literary career starts here: meet Morag McTwee

NB (Written May 31, 2014) Given some concerns expressed to me about the contents of a previous version of this entry, I would very much like to point out that the extraordinary weather I experienced, described below, was wholly exceptional and unusual for the time of year. That, you will gather, is why I described it in the first place. So please don’t be put off visiting Albados, Els Ibarsos, or anyone or anything else connected with those two places. I thought the concerns were wholly valid and accordingly I re-wrote the piece to, I hope, allay those concerns and get rid of any part of it which might, perhaps, have been distressing. I thank you.

This is ridiculous. I’ve just driven four miles back from Els Ibarsos to get in a little shopping and happened to notice on the in-car outside temperature thermometer (aren’t modern cars marvellous, no wonder a new one costs a bloody fortune - you’ll gather that I have never owned, let alone bought, a new car) that it was a wonderful, holiday-making, reassuring bloody 8.5c. And this over halfway through May, with just one month to go till mid-summer when the ‘days get shorter’. Heavens be praised, when I got back here to Seth’s, the temperature was higher - 9c - according to the fabulous in-car outside thermometer. However, I am assured weather such as this is a once in a century occurrence.

. . .

A not very well-kept secret is that I have literary pretensions and intend to try my hand at fiction writing once I can no longer have to earn my crust through honest work and am reduced to existing on the pitiful amount the state will pay me by way of a pension. All things being equal (i.e. if I am not shown the door earlier by Lord Rothermere and his henchmen) that will be from November 21, 2014. Why not do it now, you delusional phoney? I hear some of you ask. Well, the answer is quite simple: that kind of thing needs time and application, and scooting between London and Cornwall, four days in The Smoke and three day ‘down in the country’ (I think that’s what some people call it, though for the record: I go up to London and return to Cornwall, not the other way around) affords neither the time nor the application necessary to do the kind of thing I intend doing properly.

I have in the past written two novels, one of which, in hindsight, was bollocks, the other, however ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it is, I am reasonably proud of (even if to date no one has actually ‘got it’). The one lesson I have learnt producing those two, a crucial lesson, is that writing is a full-time occupation. Writing each, even the bad one, I treated as ‘work’, regularly sitting down to write in six-hour stints. Others might be able to do that kind of thing in ‘creative’ bursts, but I can’t. I have to treat it as a task, as work to be taken seriously. And you have to be completely ruthless in saying: right, that’s it, leave me completely alone for six/seven hours. And that isn’t possible at the moment.

Naturally, I will look like a complete tit if, when I do retire, I do absolutely bugger all despite noble intentions but at least I shall not make - or even be able to make - lame excuses. Incidentally, one of the reasons I write this blog is simply because I like writing. In my case it’s a substitute for talking, yapping, call it what you will. For many years, from about 1980 until 1995, I kept what is conventionally called ‘a diary’, but it wasn’t a diary at all, more something like this (except for a few years of highly personal stuff when I split from a girl I’d been going out with and immediately regretted it. Trouble was, she didn’t).

I started it after reading East Of Eden by John Steinbeck and in the introduction he described (if I remember correctly) that for a while he suffered a form of writer’s block and that his editor or agent, I don’t remember which, gave him a hardback A4 lined ledger and suggested that at the start of each day he should spend a little time writing on a left-hand page by way of limbering up and then proceed to write his novel on the right-hand page. Ah ha, I thought for a writer (as, delusionally, I thought of myself) who doesn’t yet write, that might be a way in.

It wasn’t, of course, or wasn’t for quite some time, but do now have, tucked away somewhere (in Guy’s house next to Paddy’s in St Breward) about 10 or 12 A4 ledgers full of my scibble and scribblings. To date I haven’t attempted to read any of them which means that they never will be read by anyone). Which is all a very long-winded way of introducing you to Morag McTwee. The link is that The Bat could well be a good model for Morag.

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