Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A writer's holiday

This blog has been on holiday for the last couple of weeks, mainly because I haven't had the energy at the end of the day to post anything at all.  It's been a blistering few weeks, jetting backwards and forwards between Italy and the UK, trying to keep the UK house from crumbling into the river bank, seeing the Offspring, and attempting to sell a few books.  What I need is a holiday!  But that got me thinking. . .

Don't look now - I'm writing!

Everyone's heard the expression 'a busman's holiday', ie not really being on holiday at all - but what about writers?  'A writer's holiday' would be a more appropriate saying, because writers have no holidays at all.  We are continually on the receiving end of 'input' even if we can switch off 'output'.

See that bikini clad woman lying on the beach towel, eyes closed behind the shades?  She's eavesdropping a conversation between two people having an argument under a nearby umbrella.  Notice the notebook strategically placed next to the iced drink and the sun tan lotion.

'Spot the Writer' is a good game.  Sometimes they pretend to be listening to music on their i-pods but this is just a ruse to prevent people talking to them - a vain attempt to shut off 'input'.  I've tried everything, but whenever I travel the people next to me, the taxi drivers, the cabin crew, all seem to want to tell me the stories of their lives.  I've got the material for shelves and shelves of novels I will never write.

Then there's the sunsets, the 3am Cosmic Questions, the way the light falls on the sea, a bird at just the right angle above the mountain, the man with the gleaming teeth who appears in the bar every evening with a different woman, the girl selling bracelets on the street outside, a  mysterious note delivered to your cubby hole in the hotel . . .  They all need to be written down by the crazy addict desperate for another fix of Words.

These days, i-pads are making it difficult to spot the scribblers.  They might look as though they're simply texting or updating Facebook, while sneakily editing the Great Novel.  You might even be in it - your appearance and conversation recorded for posterity.  That's what writers do - they steal other people's lives and put them between glossy covers and they are never, never off-duty!

Now I'm off again, this time to take charge of grandchildren who don't want to go on holiday with their parents - and daughter and tiny ones are back from Cuba, so there's going to be a houseful. Probably won't have the energy to blog again until September - but you never know!



4 comments:

  1. Your blog break is nothing compared to the ones I keep taking.
    The intent is still their, but when I have a moment to write the novel calls.

    It is so true about the writer never leaving well alone. I remember on a long trip in a car with some work colleagues, joking that their conversations might one-day end up in a story. One of them pointed out that she had barely said a word, "You'll just be the recalcitrant character in the corner" said I.

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    1. Hi Al - good to hear from you! Yes, you just can't help recording things and squirreling them away. It's a wonder we have anyone still speaking to us! Hope things are going well in Oz!

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  2. Nice post. A writer us even on the alert whiel asleep. How many times have I woken up with a new solution to a plot or a character issue. The last time thius hapened I was thinking of thick arched eybrows... wx

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    1. This happens to me too Wendy. I go to sleep pondering something and often wake up with the solution really clear. The mind is an amazing thing! xx

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