Massive nerd alert! Is it just me, or does anyone find it mind blowingly exciting that the WORLD. JOUSTING. CHAMPIONSHIPS will be staged in Victoria in June? Hell, the history obsessive in me is excited that world jousting competition exists in the first place!
Then again, perhaps it’s just me. And, yes, that is a real suit of armour lurking in our hallway – a birthday gift from my lovely, and equally odd, husband. If you’ve ever read any of my books or seen any of the tv series I’ve written, this will come as no surprise to you.
And another to post on the ‘who knew’ list, the reigning world jousting champion, Sir Phillip Leitch, is from Ballarat.
So, gird ye loins, strap on your codpiece, buff that chain mail and ready yourself. The tournament comes complete with a Shakespearean tavern, archery AND A TREBUCHET (Google it).
As I tackle my review of the ‘pages’*, as they’re called in the publishing biz, for my next novel, ‘The Emerald Tablet’ (unapologetic plug – to be released by Pan Macmillan at the end of June), my mind turns to what I’m going to embark upon next. Yes, it’s unbelievably exciting to see my words all set up for publication. But, in my mind at least, it’s all about what happens next.
If writer’s block requires a course of prune juice and fibre supplements to get things flowing (eww…), I suffer from the opposite of that. My mind is literally overflowing with ideas. The hardest part is deciding which one of my little cerebral babies should be the focus of my attention for the next twelve months or so. Each of my imagined literary landscapes are populated by people I want to get to know better and places I want to explore. The hard part is choosing one.
So, what do you think? How do I make up my mind? Flip of the coin? Paper, rock, scissors?
*pages = the typeset manuscript.
It’s a perfect Melbourne autumn day. And I’m sitting in the perfect spot to clear the cobwebs and get the writing brain ticking over. A short stroll has brought me to the Elwood foreshore to hang with these fine, feathered friends. Bliss. Loving the new ‘hood.
Interesting aside – until Europeans visited Antipodean shores, they used the term ‘black swan’ to refer to something unimaginable. That’s right. Australia – where dreams live and the impossible happens.
Like Vegemite. A land where the inedible becomes digestible. And don’t even get me started on the relationship between poet hoax-extraordinaire, Ern Malley, and black swans (look it up).
That’s enough mental wandering. Time to go home and get back to work.
Bear with me. It’ll be worth it, I promise (she says with unjustified confidence).
See that hand on the end of your arm? Well, consider this. Every cell in that hand was once part of something else… part of lots of things, actually.
Everything that exists in the material world, from the loved ones we embrace, to our morning coffee, is made up of the same elemental building blocks that have been used and re-used on, and in, the planet since forever. By that I mean forever in the literal sense (let’s not even start to talk about grappling with the idea of the formation of the universe or the beginning of time. Not in a single blogpost).
The world is really just a giant tub of LEGO bricks. Not the annoying, prescriptive branded variety that compels you to construct Skeletor’s castle (showing my age now), or Hogwarts. So the nail clipping you just trimmed off that fell to the floor might once have been part of a diplodocus’ tail, or a narwhal’s tusk. And as for where it might go from here after your sweep it up, or chew and ingest it (ewwwwww)? Who knows? It’ll break down and those cells might end up anywhere.
The bits and pieces that make up our human form are borrowed from the universe and stay with us as long as we dwell here. Then, when our lease on life expires, we hand them back. Break us all down to our basic elements, and we’re all made of the same stuff. There are a few people making noises around the world today who would be well advised to have a think about that.
It’s possible that some people like to live with the thrill (buzz?) of live electrical wires hanging from the ceiling. Not me. Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather not take my life into my hands each time I enter my study. Which is why my books are still all in boxes and my antique desk is still disassembled.
It would be just fab if you could please reappear to finish the work you started. Being a transient writer has its limitations… dinner time being one of them, when my makeshift desk AKA the dining table, is required for other duties.
Besides, I can hear my homeless books weeping from neglect. They must be set free.
If you ask me (and, yes, I know you didn’t) – procrastination? Embrace it.
It’s not like I waste my time on indulgences. My aimless meanderings always seem to revolve around important if also horribly mundane yet necessary tasks. But while I’m staking the tomato plants, cleaning the chook’s cage (NOT a typo. Just the one, geriatric, chicken), or hanging out the washing, more often than not, the fog clears and I see a way past the roadblock that was slowing me down.
And, no. I still haven’t finished the acknowledgments pages I have to send off to my editor tonight (see: Friday’s post)…. now, where’s that broom?
Want to know the secret of writing a book? Just. Do. It.
Case in point. Saturday morning. Trackside as my son warms up – in the rain – for a high jump competition. And me? Tapping away on the laptop in the backseat of the car, planning the next novel to embark on after The Emerald Tablet is released in June this year with Pan Macmillan. Some of my best work has been done in the car while I wait for the kids to finish sport training. Seriously!
If you wait for that perfect stretch of uninterrupted time to write, the reality is that it will never happen. And if, miracle of miracles, the horizon clears and you do find yourself in the enviable position of having a day or two to work on your story, likelihood is that the task will prove too daunting and you’ll find ten thousand far more important things you should be doing with your time… rearranging your sock drawer… cleaning the lint out of the dryer… trimming the dog’s nails… Speaking from personal experience, here!
So, don’t put it off. The more you write, the easier it will be. Even if you end up tossing out 90% of what you do because when you read back over it you realise it was unadulterated garbage!
The blank page is a terrifying thing. So put some words on it.