Monthly Archives: May 2010

Is a book like a baby?

Books and babies can both be difficult to put down. They demand your attention when you have other things that need doing. They invoke a feeling of fierce loyalty when someone criticizes one you cherish.

An uncommon romance

And writing a book is a bit like being pregnant; morning sickness (nausea; when you discover that the words you wrote yesterday are not as brilliant as you suspected).  Fluid retention from sitting on your backside for hours and days at a time. Cravings for food, coffee, substances in an attempt to get the brain working.  And tiredness. Because using the brain and imagination can take up a lot of energy.

Then, the advance copy finally arrives in the mail; the moment you’ve been waiting for.

Holding the book in your hands after all the writing, stressing, rejections, stressing, re-writing, stressing, acceptance….stressing, editing, proofing, acknowledgments, stressing, photos, cover, is sheer heaven, and it’s quite likely that the baby won’t leave your hands for the rest of the day.

But tomorrow TODAY!! my baby is stepping out into the real world. Its first day of school. In the world of books. It will find its place on the shelves in the ‘R’ section. And I hope the other books will shuffle over a little to give it a place. I hope they are kind, because it’s still a bit wet behind the ears.

Hopefully, it will be read, and people will like it, although they might not, and that’s as it should be, because we all have such different tastes and I do respect diversity of opinion.

Yet, ultimately, we have to let our children go, out into the big wide world, no matter how scary that is, no matter how much we fear for them. And perhaps it’s scarier for mum than baby anyway. I do recall that I was the one who cried when my real child went to school for the first time; he, however, did not even look back. Sigh.

Not to worry, I think I’m pregnant again.

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Filed under authors, book launch, books, champagne, editors, fiction, launches, Reading, reviews, Writing

The most wonderful realisation

Recently, I wrote about my weird feelings of wanting to be ‘everything, everyone, everywhere’. I was scared of missing out on something. I felt that words, experiences, stories  were slipping out of my reach all the time.

There was a feeling of panic. I remember the anxiety on being told that books were going to be published electronically. I thought it was because I preferred the feel and smell of real pages.  It’s only now that I realise what generated that unease.  If you make it too easy to print, there will be too much printed.  And I won’t have time to read it all.

And I want to read it all.

Anyway, the panic has been replaced with peace – just now.  Because, I had an epiphany a moment ago (Black Sheep triggered it – thank you) that we are in fact, despite feelings to the contrary, ‘everything, everyone, everywhere.’

Not consciously, of course, we’d all be blowing fuses in the mind if that happened.  But unconsciously.  When you consider how little we use of our brain (less than 10%, is it?) it’s not an impossible idea.

Where do I end? Where’s the final edge?  At my skin?  I think not. There’s energy beyond that. We are all bigger than the bodies we sit in.  If I am my awareness, and I am aware of something, then isn’t that part of me?  If only for a moment. If only in a microscopic way? Perhaps we bloggers are all chips of colour, making up one large mosaic, creating a beautiful and profound design that can only be appreciated from far away.

It brings me comfort that thought. On some level, imagining that I’m connected to it all, even those intellectual posts in ‘politics’, the poignant photos in ‘art’, the witty words in ‘blogging’, and the odd sad post in ‘life’ that remains un-read.

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The wildest place I’ve been so far…

My choice for wildest blog this week isn’t wild in the clashy colour way of my website (which I must try and rectify).  It shows restraint; there’s no chaos, or feeling that it might lose control, either verbally or visually.

And yet it is wild. It lifted me out of my body temporarily; time definitely slipped. I was engrossed with the facts (although a little dismayed at the mother’s day one).  But most of all I was captured by an artist’s stunning work. Which is wildly restrained.

The man is a genius.

Well worth a look: http://arthurscount.wordpress.com

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To be everything, everyone, everywhere.

The net, and the recently new experience of blogging, has invoked the weirdest feeling in me.

A longing to be vast and everywhere. There is a sense that I might miss out on something important. A revealing post in politics perhaps; usually the last place I’d venture into, or an interesting comment in the fashion section. All missed, all slipping out of view. I won’t read it. I experience it.

And I want to read it all.  If I could visit every single site, I would. I love all these words; quirky, funny, sad, intellectual, witty. [oh, no, there’s another one sliding out of my reach]

So, I have decided that while A is away, I shall wander into blog-land and see just how many different places I can reach.

There are no heaths where I live. No wild moors, which is probably what my heart requires now, that and some moody quill-written letters.  I could always wander into the bush, I suppose; it’s dripping, hushed and smelling of earth. It scares me a little.

No, I will wander virtually.  My mission: to find the wildest, most wind-swept blog in existence.

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Filed under authors, blogging, books, editors, fiction, I should be editing right now, Reading, regency period, romance, Uncategorized, Writing

And yet wild abandon is so much fun

Yesterday, I thought a lot about restraint . The word conjures up images of safety (a vicious dog held fast on a strong lead).  And control (the two drink limit, refusing the last piece of chocolate cake), and also a masterful channeling of energy.

In music (sorry to always return to music), a single phrase can be carried by strong energy not expressed. Does that make sense?  If one uses everything up in the expressing of a phrase of music, or a line of writing (a frequent comment to new writers is that their work is “overwritten”) then it can sound, or read, weak because all of the energy has been expended in one rush.

In the days when I still played music, on exquisitely rare occasions, I would get a sense of sitting on top of the most immense power or force.  I no longer had a body or mind.  For a moment, I would dissolve into the sound. The line of music, or the aria would be invariably be simple, but so immense in what was left unexpressed.  Great music (of all kinds, not just classical) seems to generate this power.  Watching a brilliant movie, standing in front of an amazing piece of art, staring into the eyes of someone you love, or reading a great book can also help dissolve the body into another world.

And that surrendering of our bodies, is surely part of wild abandon.

Let’s face it, it’s fun to give up control.  In all art forms, wildness is exciting. I like to imagine the creative force as something a little wild and difficult to control, and flighty, and whose trust we must earn.

We walk a line between the two, don’t we?  Some of us leaning towards the restraint side of the divide, others dancing on the wild side. I like to jump from one to the other personally.  There’s joy in both.

Which side has your vote? Restraint?  Or wild abandon?

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The power of restraint

Do we over express ourselves? Has our society lost the art of subtlety? Whether it’s on film, through the arts or life in general there seems to be a ‘more is better’ philosophy in play. We’re overloading our senses, until they grow dull, and need ridiculous amounts of stimulation.

In movies, for example, we get the point, it doesn’t need to hammered into our skulls. In music, we hear you, no need to shout. In books, our imaginations are working; leave a little room for us to create. And in romance (perhaps the hardest place to exercise restraint), we need space to breathe.

My favourite authors show restraint. They hold themselves back at a point when it must have been tempting to let everything fall onto the page.  If  they do let go, after holding back, it is a more powerful point in the book.

I will do my best to be subtle today. Discreet. Restrained. Almost Austen-esque.

As for tomorrow, I can promise nothing; it is simply too far away.

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Filed under authors, books, editors, fiction, jane austen, Reading, regency period, romance, romantic, Uncategorized, Writing

It’s so very crowded here, no one can see us

I know I said that the game was over, and you said you felt exposed, but why not keep on blogging and tell me things that no one knows.

This place is very busy, the room is crowded, and the world doesn’t know, or  doesn’t care, that we’re so very close.

I think you’re safe. I think it’s safe for you to tell me things.

They will be kept secret.

If you are cryptic

enough

Write a poem.

By candlelight.

x

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Filed under books, editors, fiction, jane austen, Reading, regency period, romantic, Uncategorized, Writing