Is there a correlation between writing and running?

I can see how it is that a writer’s life can be a lonely one.

I’m often sitting in front of the computer screen, or in a large lounge chair with my trusty tablet computer, writing the words, or staring into space!

Sometimes the words don’t make any sense, sometimes the thoughts leading to those words don’t make any sense.  Sometimes the most sensible person in the room is the cat.

I’m sure his thoughts are not vague or scrambled, nor is he wrestling with the plots of several stories on the go, getting locations right, getting characters to think and do their thing with a fair degree of continuity.

The cat’s world is one of which chair to lie on, where is that elusive mouse, be it real or otherwise, and is this fool going to feed me soon, and please, please, don’t let it be the lasagna.  I am not that cat!

Unlike other professions, there is no 9 to 5, no overtime, no point where you can switch off and move into leisure time.  Not while you are writing that next bestseller.  It’s a steady, sometimes frustrating, slog where you can’t just walk away, have a great time, and come back and pick up where you left off.

Stories have to be written from beginning to end, not a bit here and a bit there.

So much so it’s a bit like running a marathon.  You are in a zone, the first few miles are the hardest, the middle is just getting into a rhythm and getting your breathing under control, and then you hope you get to the end because it can seem that you’ve been going forever and the end is never in sight.

But, when you reach the end, oh, isn’t the feeling one of pure joy and relief.

And, yes, perhaps you’ve just created another bestseller!

Conversations with my cat – 7

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This is Chester.  He’s been caught almost red-handed climbing the curtains.

Of course, he is all innocence, because the evidence is circumstantial.  He was sitting on the window ledge looking out, thinking ‘if only I could get out there’.

Now he’s thinking how much trouble he’s in and whether it will be his least favorite cat food for dinner.

No, I’m not that mean.

Not unless I catch him red-handed.

It a ‘Houston, we have a problem’ moment

Our hero has survived the crash, now he’s stuck in enemy territory

 

This was supposed to be a milk run.  There had been no reported activity in our zone and the pilot had decided to go up just the log some more air time.

He was hoping after reaching a 1,000 hours so he might be able to move to fixed wing aircraft and then move on to becoming an airline pilot.  Unfortunately, he was not going become anything now.

That didn’t explain why we encountered a convoy out in the desert, especially one with a rocket launcher and English speaking soldier types.

Did we stumble across another outfit running a secret operation and mistook us for the enemy?  It didn’t seem the case, our helicopter was distinctively marked just so we wouldn’t be mistaken, and then there was the fact the man knew my name.

How could that happen?  It would need someone back at the base to tell someone of the fact the helicopter was going up and who was in it, and there weren’t too many people who knew that information.

And only one who knew exactly when and where we would be.  Unless, of course, the pilot had strayed into a no-fly zone.  There was only one that I knew of and it was nowhere near our flight path.  Of course, it wouldn’t take much to bamboozle me in the air because I had no sense of direction.

Unless the pilot had another agenda.  I could hardly tell where we were because desert all looked the same to me, and navigation wasn’t my strongest point.

After the first few miles of very bumpy road, I managed to get into a sitting position and look in the direction we were heading.

More desert.

Ten minutes later I could see an encampment in the distance, literally an oasis in the middle of nowhere.  A secret base camp or something else?

As we got closer I could see it was mostly covered by camouflage so it couldn’t be seen from above. Clever.  Chances were we had no idea this place was in the desert.

 

Who or what is waiting for him?

 

© Charles Heath 2019

Can we believe what we read, and what we hear, even what we see?

Information comes at us at a million miles an hour, reams and reams of it.  Some of it may be true, however, the vast majority of it might not be, but something else, conjecture.

We are all guilty of it, we read something, and then put our own slant on it.  It comes from upbringing, education, and the people around us.  There’s an awful lot of influences around us that shapes the way we interpret what we see, what we hear, and what we read.

This is, of course, literary gold for a writer, particularly if you are a journalist.

Everyone has an agenda, whether they choose to admit it or not.  Sometimes circumstances might get in the way, and then they will have to find a way to influence others to knowingly or u8nknowingly support their p[oint of view.

It sounds a lot like politics, doesn’t it?

This sort of thing not only happens in government, but it also happens in private industry.  Everyone to be successful must find a way to push their product or service, sometimes by any and all means possible.

In both cases, there’s more than just a story to be told, and if people learned the truth of how a certain product finally made it into the marketplace, they might not necessarily buy it.

Conspiracy theories abound, pharmaceutical companies rigging test results knowing their product is faulty or using questionable test subjects, shady government agencies running smear campaigns on people who may have influence in an election, leaders of government and private industry misusing statistics and quoting them as fact.

Some even say the moon landings were a hoax.  Given how advanced the magic of the movies is these days, even back then, who’s to say it’s real or not.

Someone always knows the truth.  It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

And it will provide writers with a rich vein of plotlines until the end of time.

A Private Investigator’s tale lends itself to being a serial

The write a private detective serial has always been one of the items at the top of my to-do list, though trying to write novels and a serial, as well as a blog, and maintain a social media presence, well, you get the idea.

But I made it happen, from a bunch of episodes I wrote a long, long time ago, used these to start it, and then continue on, then as now, never having much of an idea where it was going to end up, or how long it would take to tell the story.

That, I think is the joy of ad hoc writing, even you, as the author, have as much idea of where it’s going as the reader does.

It’s basically been in the mill since 1990, but it’s coming to an end very soon.

 

My private detective, Harry Walthenson

I’d like to say he’s from that great literary mold of Sam Spade, or Mickey Spillane, or Phillip Marlow, but he’s not.

But, I’ve watched Humphrey Bogart play Sam Spade with much interest, and modeled Harry and his office on it.  Similarly, I’ve watched Robert Micham play Phillip Marlow with great panache, if not detachment, and added a bit of him to the mix.

Other characters come into play, and all of them, no matter what period they’re from, always seem larger than life.  I’m not above stealing a little of Mary Astor, Peter Lorre or Sidney Greenstreet, to breath life into beguiling women and dangerous men alike.

 

Then there’s the title, like

The Case of the Unintentional Mummy – this has so many meanings in so many contexts, though I image back in Hollywood in the 30’s and 40’s, this would be excellent fodder for Abbott and Costello

The Case of the Three Legged Dog – Yes, I suspect there may be a few real-life dogs with three legs, but this plot would involve something more sinister.  And if made out of plaster, yes, they’re always something else inside.

But for mine, to begin with, it was “The Case of the …”, because I had no idea what the case was going to be about, well, I did, but not specifically.

Then it became “The Case of the Bother’s Revenge” because I began to have a notion that there was a brother no one knew about, but that’s stuff for other stories, not mine, so it will change again.

 

Take a look yourself …

 

The first episode – (1) – The Wrong Place, The Wrong Time

http://bit.ly/2J4aEBP

The latest Episode – (35) – Sykes Returns

http://bit.ly/2sAHjaT

 

The Web Page:  https://www.walthensonpi.com

My Website:  http://charles-heath.com

My blog:  https://aloysius5.com/

 

Dreaming I was in the desert

But it was just another episode of the helicopter story, we’re back on the ground after that fateful jump, things are not going quite as planned.

Do they ever in life or death situations…
Yards were like miles, and I didn’t have the time to reach the weapon.  I could see the pickup going around the burning wreck as he of the helicopter and approach me.

But, being the optimist I was I had to try.

And fail.

The pickup was on me before I’d made it halfway, stopping about a foot from me.  Any further and it would have run me over.

I got to my knees and put my hands on my head not giving them any immediate reason to kill me.  The man who had fired the rocket got out of the vehicle moments after it stopped.

A man in military garb, not very old.  And not a foreigner.  I was expecting South American, but not ostensibly one of us.  A glance inside the vehicle showed the driver was a woman, in civilian clothes.

A surprise, yes.

“Mr. James I presume.”  English, well spoken.

Another surprise or more than one, that he spoke English and knew who I was.

“We were expecting you but not be quite so dramatic entrance.  Please stand.”

Kneeling had been difficult; I was not quite sure how standing was going to work.  I was still recovered from the impromptu exit from the helicopter.

I tried and fell back on the ground.  I looked up at him.  “Sorry, the legs are still a little rubbery.”

He simply shook his head, leaned over and dragged me to my feet, then slung me over his shoulder, carried me to the rear of the pickup and tossed me in.  I just managed to avoid hitting my head on the floor.

The man climbed in the back and then slapped the back of the cab.

Crunching gears, an over-revving engine, then a jerky start.  It was not going to be a comfortable journey.

© Charles Heath 2019

“Echoes From The Past”, buried, but not deep enough

What happens when your past finally catches up with you?

Christmas is just around the corner, a time to be with family. For Will Mason, an orphan since he was fourteen, it is a time for reflection on what his life could have been, and what it could be.

Until a chance encounter brings back to life the reasons for his twenty years of self-imposed exile from a life only normal people could have. From that moment Will’s life slowly starts to unravel and it’s obvious to him it’s time to move on.

This time, however, there is more at stake.

Will has broken his number one rule, don’t get involved.

With his nemesis, Eddie Jamieson, suddenly within reach, and a blossoming relationship with an office colleague, Maria, about to change everything, Will has to make a choice. Quietly leave, or finally, make a stand.

But as Will soon discovers, when other people are involved there is going to be terrible consequences no matter what choice he makes.

http://amzn.to/2F7gqAL

newechocover5rs

 

It’s just another day of the week

I used to like Saturdays, it was the first day of the weekend, and after working Monday through Friday, one could sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, and then do the shopping.

Then there’s the reality.

Body clocks are dreadful, and never let you sleep in if, in fact, it’s bright daylight shining through the curtains at 5am.  Blackout curtains never seem to quite work.

Shutters are marginally better.

Once awake it is difficult to get back to sleep, so you lie in bed staring at the ceiling or partake in monitoring social media.

I read the latest in the New York Times, online.  Some days I wish I didn’t.

But…

Yes, there’s always a but…

I can, at times, go through the plotline of the latest story in my head, and if it’s boring, it puts me to sleep, and if it’s not, I head to the writing room and start putting it down.

Until notifications start distracting me.

Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Linked In, Tumblr, and Instagram.

News headlines, the world is ending, or close enough, a car accident is causing traffic delays even though I’m not going out, yet another school shooting massacre in the USA, and my crossword for the day has arrived.

Why can’t the computer make me coffee, and toast and marmalade?

From 6am to 9am shot to hell, not a word on paper, perhaps I should go back to bed.

I remember Saturdays before computers, before social media, before any of those modern distractions.

What is referred to, these days, as the good old days!

 

Conversations with my cat – 6

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This is Chester.  He is giving me the ‘Come back when you’ve rewritten the start’ look.

Yet another ‘disagreement’ over such a small matter!

Here’s the thing.

Like many authors with cats, I like to use Chester as my audience of one, my sounding board.  It is better to be reading to him, rather than reading out loud by yourself.

Reading what you have written often points out tongue tangling or ‘drippy’ dialog, and  unfortunate mix ups in words.  Proof reading sometimes misses these.

Hitherto, Chester has been patient, lying on the floor, or sitting on the couch.

I guess a few pats doesn’t go astray in the process.

But, this morning, reading him the new start to ‘First Dig Two Graves’ the sequel to ‘The Devil You Don’t’, he just gave me one of his angry ‘meow’s’ and left.

Obviously he didn’t like it.

Of course, after I re-read it again, I could see the problem, so the days writing is not over yet.

As a matter of fact…

But, is it?

This oft used expression is one we pull out of our argument arsenal every now and then, but the problem is, are we quoting actual facts, or are we just trying to get a point of view across?

What are facts?

There seems to be a wide disparity of explanations on what facts are, depending on what purpose they’re used for.

We’re all familiar with a certain line of information being put forward as factual in defense of a particular wall, but are these facts?

Can we disprove these facts with other facts, and are these facts factual or otherwise.

The real facts may never be known because they may well be buried underneath a welter of auxiliary information that is factual but can be twisted any which way.

So…

Would we be better of with conjecture?

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what conjecture is, but at a guess, conjecture is a series of assumptions based on facts (oh no, here we go again!)

Over here we built a fence to keep out the rabbits.

Walls, fences, it didn’t work.  It cost a lot of money but didn’t achieve the intended result.

Humans are more inventive than rabbits.  We seem to be better keeping them in, rather than keeping them out.

And I’m off track yet again, distracted by current affairs.

I just wanted to say that any story can be based on fact, and then generally go down the path of conjecture.  Historically, we might keep people who have died alive, places that have disappeared in place, follow history accurately for a while and then make assumptions of what might have happened rather than what did.

Unfortunately, it involves a lot of studies, and, sometimes, the unearthing of a fact that no one really knew about.

Make of that what you will.