Writing about writing a book – Day 27

Well, it’s been a monumental process to get to the point where I think I can start writing Chapter One.

This, of course, might not be the first chapter, it might finish up somewhere else.

If there was a plan, then this would be chapter one.  In fact, right now, I’m going to sit down and do a plan with as much as I know about where the book is heading.

One, about Bill and his introduction to the reader

Two, a phone call to interrupt the dream

Three, having to go into work – there’s a disaster going on, and he’s the only one who can fix it.

Well, not necessarily others, but this is the nineteen seventies/eighties, and women were still not looked upon or considered as being able to hold the same position as Bill – we’ve certainly come a long way in forty years.

And that, of course, is anther stream in the book, proving that woman, and one in particular is clever and given the recognition she deserves.

I’ve also got to remember that there is no internet, and there are no mobile phones and a lot of other stuff that is now regarded as commonplace and taken for granted.

We had telephone boxes, telephones on desks that connected to a switchboard, dumb terminals connected to mainframes, modems that were bulky and very very slow, and comms ran very differently to those today, and networking was a variety of technologies that mostly don’t exist anymore, like ethernet and token ring, and software like 3Com and Novell.

I know I’m going to forget sometimes because it’s going to be hard not to have the MC pull out his cellphone and call on the spot.

Anyway, here’s the first attempt…


A cool breeze blew briskly across meadows of tall grass, giving the impression of the ocean in a storm.  High above, clouds scudded across the sky, occasionally allowing the sun to shine through to bathe the ground in the sunshine, intensifying the richness of the greens and browns.

It was spring.  Trees were displaying new growth, and flowers were starting to show the promise of summery delight.  An occasional light shower of rain added to the delightful aromas, particularly where the grass had recently been mowed.

I was there, too, with my grandmother, the woman who had, for the most part, brought me up at her country residence.  But, as I got older, the dream changed and sometimes there were storm clouds on the horizon, or I was caught in the rain, alone and frightened, or lost in the woods in the dark.

There were other visions like these from my childhood, now a million years away somewhere in a distant past that was hard to remember or say where and when they belonged.  It was a pity some were now based on images stolen from the start of a movie seen on TV late at night as I was trying to get to sleep.  Or that the psychiatrist had said there was some trauma from my early childhood, trying to work its way out.

Like every other morning, these images came to me as I was hovering somewhere between conscious and unconscious, just before the alarm went off.  Then it did, filling the room with a shrill noise that would have woken the dead.

I cursed, and then dragged myself over to the other side of the bed where I’d put the alarm clock, and hit it, killing the shrill sound.  I’d put it there so I would have to wake up to turn it off.  And, worse, I’d forgotten to turn it off the night before because it was, technically, the first day of my holiday.

Not that I really wanted one because since Ellen left, my life consisted of work, work, and more work.  It kept my mind off being alone, and in an empty apartment except for the books, a bed, a table, and two chairs, a desk, and a well-worn lounge chair.  I’d been there for years and still hadn’t bought any new furniture or anything else for that matter.

And the last holiday I’d gone on had been organized by Ellen fifteen years ago in Italy after our two daughters had finished school and graduated almost top of their class.  We’d been happier then, but happiness was fleeting for me, and soon after the rot had set in, and it was the beginning of the end.

I remembered it only too clearly, coming home, opening a letter addressed to her, and finding proof of what I think I’d known all along.  She was having an affair, had been for quite some time.

It should not have been a surprise given what I had put her through over the years, since my discharge from the Army, and the nightmares active service had fueled, but it was and sent me spiraling to a new low.

But that was five years ago.  I came out of the fog a year after that.  Ellen was gone, the girls came to see me from time to time, and all I had left were memories.

I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.  I was on holiday.  No work, no pressure, nothing.  I could go back to my grandmother’s house and visit.  I had been promising myself I’d do that soon, even if it was now a country hotel.  From the advertising it had not changed one bit, the house and grounds intact.

Or I could throw a dart at a map and get on the next plane there, though knowing my ability with a dart, it would be in the middle of the ocean.

I could do almost anything I wanted.


It’s not much, just a taste.  But it’s enough for now.  I’ve made a start.  Now, all I have to do is come up with the next 100,000 words or so.


© Charles Heath 2016-2020

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