I’m not perfect…

I was told a long time ago I wasn’t perfect, and it didn’t bother me. Then.

But it’s true. I don’t always get it right, sometimes I get annoyed and say things in the heat of the moment that perhaps shouldn’t be said, and sometimes I can be ‘difficult’.

I’ll be the first in line to say my blog isn’t perfect, in fact sometimes it bothers me some of the bits and pieces that go up because I doubt if they’re interesting, at the time, to anyone but me.

Perhaps it’s because I chose to be a writer.

It’s a hard slog at the best of times. Getting ideas, carving out time to write, having to live a normal life as distinct from that of living in a garret, on your own, writing that next great Nobel prize for literature, or is it a Pulitzer?

I don’t get that, I don’t have that, and I don’t want that.

For those of us living on that ‘edge’ of finding time to write, maintain a blog, keep up with social media, do the daily chores and watch some television, something has to give.

So, I’m not getting any writing done if I’m working on the blog, or I’m on social media. If I’m doing the blog, something else has to be sacrificed.

Mostly it’s my blog. My blog is about writing stuff, visiting places that have been or will be used in stories, and once, a recalcitrant cat who sadly has passed on. It also has running episodic stories, usually four different at a time.

It also had about 2,000 past posts. When I don’t get the time to do my blog, which has been mostly for the last three months off and on, I sometimes repackage or repeat past posts, just to keep it ticking over, much like a scoreboard.

It is also a tool for advertising my books and stories, and what’s coming (if only I stopped using social media) and these are repeated every four or five days. It’d the equivalent of advertising because I can’t afford other advertising. If this is an annoyance, I’m sorry.

And just so everyone knows, I will always keep writing, not because I want to become the next James Patterson, though it would be nice, I write because I want to, and it pleases me when someone reads something I write, and they like it. It is the greatest compliment of all, and I believe in encouragement. It’s why I spend a lot of that social media time highlighting other writers so they can build a following.

After all, we are all in the same boat, it would just be nice if we were all rowing in the same direction.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 19

Is this what is known as getting down to the pointy end? I’m in the home stretch, and what makes it more of an event is that I now have a clear idea of the front cover.

This was made possible when I was sent some photographs of my eldest granddaughter in her formal dress. Here we call that event to mark the end of secondary school a formal. Elsewhere I have heard it is called a prom.

It makes a perfect illustration of Princess Marigold, although rather than transcribe the photo, I have converted into a sketch drawing which is remarkably accurate. She was not quite sure if she wanted to have her likeness splashed across the cover in full colour. However, I have to come up with the rest of the cover design, hopefully with a representation of a castle in the sky, or something similar.

As for the story, a new character found its way into the pages of the story, one I hadn’t envisaged in the beginning, but had made herself a necessity in the final battle between good and evil.

As for the title, it had been set in stone for as long as I’ve been writing it, but now, as the curtain is coming down, the story is ending in a way I hadn’t considered, and it is almost as if the characters have taken over and writing their own ending.

I can feel another brainstorming session coming on.

For the word counters, another 4,404 words this session, for a total of 149,773.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 18

I’ve managed to get some writing time for this story, mainly to keep continuity as it’s quite often lost when stretching it over a long period of time.

For a long time I always knew how the story would end, it was probably one of the few that I’ve written that had an ending in mind. Now, that’s all up in the air.

What had brought on the change of heart? It might be one of the hazards of being a pantser, which when I took to the notion I would finish it come this NaNoWriMo, and when I didn’t, realised something was fundamentally wrong.

Not with the story, but just how it would end, which for Marigold, will always be the same, but for the realm. The thing is, the deeper you dig into a story, the more people who are affected, and the different points of view, and variations on the story from kingdom to kingdom, the more the resolution is affected.

What’s good for one might not be the same for another, and once there are new variables, new people, now wishes are taken into account, the more impossible the job is. And especially for a young princess who just came of age, and had no experience of a world beyond her own orbit.

In a way it reflects the world on my eldest granddaughter, for whom it was written, and her life has changed as much momentously as had Marigold’s. Different people, different ages, different times, that transition from wide eyed child to difficult teenager wasn’t as hard as I remembered it, but then things were different when I was young.

And perhaps more telling, not a princess either.

For the word counters, another 4,258 words this session, for a total of 144,369.

The end of another month

They say time flies when you’re having fun.

Well, I’m not exactly having fun, but time is going past very quickly, and I suspect this is more to do with getting old, accelerating after turning 65.

This month I’ve been spending time finally trying to complete the YA fantasy story that I started over seven years ago. I had hoped to finish it last NANOWRIMO, but it was a bigger task than I estimated.

Then, I had expected it to be written in under 100,000 words, and last update, I’d crossed the 140,000 mark, and there’s still about 20 chapters to go.

It simply means there’s going to be a monumental editing excercise, in several months time. If I get it finished. I’m hoping that it will be finished by my eldest granddaughters 18th birthday as it is being written for her.

That means, concentrating on this, everything else has been put on the backburner, which is a disappointment because I have another two books not very far away from finally being published.

I have published a few more inspiration maybe stories, and several episodes of the episodic stories, but these had been written earlier, and no I will have to spend some time writing more for publishing next month.

If only there were more hours in a day, more days in a week, and more weeks in a month!

What will happen in the future?

I don’t think anyone can predict the future, not any more, and definitely now it is a distinct possibility that someone can create a virus that will in essence shut down the whole world, and quite possibly destroy it

This is patenetly clear after the recent troubles with COVID 19 and although a remedy has been found, it is not a perfect solution, or a means or eradicating it. It has shown that while we might be able to combat one version of it, it’s the mutations that will throw up questions about ever getting back to some sort of normal.

And that begs the question, what is, or was, normal?

It’s been a year, or more, and I think we’ve forgotten. What we have discovered, though, is the disparate states of the various nations and ethnic groups, and how they have fared in the wake of the pandemic.

It has highlighted systemic problems the world over, problems that have always been there but simmering below the surface. Problems that could be resolved, but perhaps will not.

But as a first world nation, we have not been immune to external forces, forces that have tried to break us while reeling from the ravaging of a virus that was brought here, and through no fault of our own.

But from the outset, we seem have been in a different bubble here.

I will admit that I live in a country with about 26 million people whereas the United States has about 330 million, there is a significant difference in numbers, whereas the US is only 1.3 times larger in size.

All this means that the US has a much larger problem in containing the COVID 19 virus, and probably why, down here, we are having a lot more success in getting the infection rates under control.

One thing we have all learned in the last month or so, is that lock downs, such as those hated by, and rallied against in the US, do actually work when you have much less population to deal with. This is why the actions taken by smaller populated countries such as Australia and New Zealand have been so successful.

Yes, we have had outbreaks, but it has been proved these can be contained. We have rigidly been adhering to the science, and the advice of our medical specialists without political interference, to keep the infection rates down.

Yes, we have limited freedom, but nearly everyone, except those from overseas who came here as immigrants and refuse to accept any form of ‘control’, have adhered to the medical based requests. Those that don’t, those that have railed against the rules, they are predominantly people who have come here from other countries.

I’m happy for anyone to come here, and get away from whatever horrors they leave behind, but only on the condition they leave those horrors behind, and try in some small way to assimilate with us, without having to give up there cultural and religious beliefs. When they use that as an excuse for their bad behaviour, they should be sent home. Obviously, this country isn’t good enough for them.

We are an island, so it is much easier to guard our borders. No one can get into this country without going through quarantine, and that try to lie their way in are promptly returned on the next plane out. We cannot leave without a valid reason, and if we do, when we come back, we have to spend a fortnight in quarantine, guarded by the defence force personnel.

For countries like the US, it is so much harder to maintain borders. There will be problems in the future with travellers coming from overseas, especially if the science behind the vaccines being touted doesn’t stand up to a very high standard. I suspect that anyone claiming to have a vaccine and using it as an excuse to re-enable overseas travel will find their pleas falling on deaf ears.

That’s because, as we are learning, vaccines are not infallible, there will be transmission, and not eveyone will be willing to have a vaccine, so even here, as anywhere else, we will not be rid of the scourge for a long time. Travel might be possible, but who will want to take a risk going to anothwr country where it’s not completely under control?

I guess, at this time of our lives, our chance to see the rest of the world is over, and that it’s time to tour our own country.

Whether we live long and prosper, well, that’s a story for another day.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 17

I’ve managed to get some writing time for this story, mainly to keep continuity as it’s quite often lost when stretching it over a long period of time.

For a long time I always knew how the story would end, it was probably one of the few that I’ve written that had an ending in mind.

Of course, as the story proceeds, some of the plotline will change, sometimes caused by the character almost writing their own story, or it is dictated by events that you may not have foreseen at the beginning.

It’s a bit like life itself. You can chart a course that you might think will be where you are headed, and then an unforeseen event will turn everything on it’s head.

Stories are like that. One minute you are hurtling towards the end, everything about to be tied up into a neat bow.

The other day I had a brainstorm, you know, the sort that comes out of left field, and leaves you either elated or shattered.

I’m not sure what I’m thinking right now, only that the end will be different, and better. Much, much better.

For the word counters, another 3,490 words this session, for a total of 141,111.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 16

I’ve managed to get some writing time for this story, mainly to keep continuity as it’s quite often lost when stretching it over a long period of time.

One of the parts I’ve been working on lately had been difficult to write, to say the least, and there have been about seven attempts to get it right.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

I’ve been reading up on the way stories told over time change. I think these types of stories are called Chinese Whispers. That got me to thinking about the whole legend itself, and the fact that it would be different in each of the kingdoms in the realm, simply because each would cast their own hero.

And since it was a story that was rarely committed to paper, the oral retelling would always have the tellers stamp upon it. If it were me reciting the story, the saviour would be a boy. Since the story was mostly related to children by their mothers, the saviour was, and always be a girl.

This morning when mulling over some completely different problems, the end, a different one to that I was contemplating, came into my head, and, in fitting with the nature of how the legend was passed on, it will be completely unexpected.

Also, for the ending, there will be an epic face off, one that has be brewing for hundreds of years.

For the word counters, another 4,200 words this session, for a total of 137,621.

NaNoWriMo – Day 30 + 15

It’s a while since the last report, but the story in moving along, albeit at a slower pace.

I’m working on the last 20 chapters, each not very long, but have pivotal roles in the story, as we now get to see the legend from a number of different perspectives.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

And that circumstance is having a big effect on our once frivolous princess. Had the realm had spun out in a different direction, she would have been destined for a completely different life, one without having to make a decision, or do anything for herself.

Now, the weight of the realm, literally, is on her shoulders.

And in a strange way, having been writing this story for nearly seven years, getting to the end is surreal for me, and will be a surprise for the readers.

I still don’t quite know exactly how it ends for everyone, but it will sort itself out.

For the word counters, another 3,679 words this session, for a total of 133,421.

The past creeps back when you least expect it

Over the last few weeks I’ve been lamenting the loss of many things that once existed, once upon a time.

All children have memories of their childhood, but some dissipate over time and become forgotten, almost to the point where it is as if they never existed.

Like my grandmothers house in the country, bulldozed to widen a main highway. I have a lot of difficulty in remembering it even though we had spent many Christmas holidays there.

Other, more insignificant items just simply disappeared into the mists of time, as the manufacturers were slowly bought out by overseas companies and in their desire for globalisation, parochial items made for what seems, to them, to be too small for their economies of scale were no longer made.

No thought is ever given to the consumer. Nor does it matter that the item, made in this country for a hundred years, is especially attuned to the tastes of the people of this country, and therefore have a continuous core market.

Of course, as a child over 60 years ago, most of thise items were confectionary. Names of brands such as Hoadleys and Rowntree have long since disappeared. Products like licorice squares, polly waffles, toscas and crispins have gone too.

Some products like Kit Kats still exist, but are made by new manufacturers like Nestle but with the change no longer taste anything like they used to.

But what started of this lament for the old days was triggered by seeing an old, old favourite called Life Savers, which came in friut flavours, peppermint, and musk. My all time favourite was musk and walking through the supermarket I saw the words Life Savers on a box almost hidden on the bottom shelf and lo and behold they had musk.

The packaging had changed, the manufacturer had changed, but that timeless confectionary had reappeared. Given its shelf location, I don’t think it will be for long.

Now, if only they could bring back Toscas, and Tarax soft drinks in small bottles. Raspberry and cola were my all time favourites.

I remember visiting Washington when times were calmer

I don’t think anyone in the whole world could miss what happened in Washington on the 6th January.

I watched in horror.

But, why would it matter to anyone who is not American?

12 years ago, in January before Obama’s inauguration, we were visiting a very different Washington.  It was a cold but sunny winter’s day, and at the time there were very few people about.

We had come down from Baltimore by train to visit the sights, and monuments, which included the Capitol.

I remember going into the building, and through the rooms that we saw being invaded, and was struck by a sense of awe in that these were the hallowed halls of democracy.

We have all been taught that democracy and the United States go hand in hand, and that it is enshrined in these buildings and in their constitution.   I saw and read a copy of this constitution, even bought a copy of it to read in more detail later.  Even I could understand what it meant, not only for America, but for the rest of the world.

I wonder if any of those people who invaded the Capitol had taken the time to understand just what their constitution stood for or how sacred their monuments to democracy are.

I did, and I’m not American