Welcome to the walk alone



(Image source: Caterflylara)

As usual, I’m listening to music while I write this blog and other things. Right now it’s “Welcome to the walk alone”, by The Rumble Strips. Fuelled by various things, I’m having fun on my own personal journey. Where once that road could have been paved with gold, when I ran a business in London, a country lane is much more pleasant. Goodbye yellow brick road. Hello autobahnen.

I’ve been in The Studio for three months now. I still don’t have a routine but I’m busier than ever, thanks to this place and everything within and around it. The typewriter and all that it produces: the website and the blog, as well as stories. Then the writing desk, the studio, the mews, the village… This is my bubble. I don’t even have a permanent bed here but I’ve not had one for the last three years anyway. It’s the locked door which provides the security and comfort, and privacy. Consequently, my waking hours of noon to 2am are uninterrupted.

Not for me communal living, even though I have some very fond memories of the squat. Nowadays I prefer solitude and that’s what’s got me writing more prolifically. The children’s book, or at least the text, is finished. It’s changed from the award-winning story and the opinion of the test reader jury is unanimous: The revised version is even better. I just need to re-acquaint myself with The GIMP in order to get the graphics work done, then the book should still be out in August. The GIMP: GNU Image Manipulation Program; Photoshop for geeks. Like the Open Office software I use, it’s open-source and distributed free. I make regular financial donations to support the developers of both The GIMP and Open Office, as well as my main research tool, Wikipedia. If only everyone did.

As well as the children’s book, I’m editing the anthology and still writing the novel. So I’m pleasingly busy but with not a lot of new stuff spewing out of the typewriter. Actual writing is about half of everything I do normally but the non-writing stuff has taken over somewhat lately. So I’ve decided to put everything to various sides and concentrate on a couple of stories I’ve been sitting on for a while. One is provisionally called The unfinished literary agency and it’s likely to be quite a long short story of around 5-6000 words. It’s actually a merging of two stories I’ve been planning for a while, neither of which were working on their own but which will work together as one. It happens like that in this game sometimes. It’s an involving tale with a surprise: one of my trademarks but I’m taking the time to hide this one well enough that very few will see it coming, even though it was there all the time.

In the course of writing another, separate, work in progress, I’ve had the opportunity to make what I think is a very good point, at least from my atheist perspective. This particular story posits that non-human life ought to be afforded greater rights, that they should cease to be termed “Animals” on the basis of this being derogatory. It’s another long story but it gives non-humans a “voice”, where previously this was lacking in any form which humans could understand. As soon as those we share the planet with are able to talk to us, many situations arise, not least of which is an inevitable question of superiority. We really should have thought about it more before we gave all the others voices (says the story). As someone who loves all things ophidian and as an atheist, it was fitting that I had a snake speak the line, “The evidence of our own eyes makes it more plausible to believe that the world was not created by any god at all. If, however, we insist on believing in divine creation, we are forced to admit that the god who made the world cannot be all-powerful and all good. He must be either evil or a complete bungler.” Clearly the serpent is an atheist. The snake asks a theist human the old question: If God is so loving, why is there so much evil in the world? Of course, this is countered with the usual reference to the original sin. Then the snake points out, “Animals also suffer from floods, fires and droughts. Since they are not descended from Adam and Eve, they cannot have inherited original sin.” Good point, well made, I thought. That particular story is less ongoing than the first and I don’t even have a title for it yet (Dr Didfuckall, perhaps?) but talking, atheist animals is a fun concept to explore.

All of which is to be continued next week. For now it’s the weekend and having been busy with rellies the last couple of weekends, this is a solitary one. I’ll no doubt speak to my dad on Sunday but other than that, I’ll be immersed in the weekend papers, reading, learning and noting down ideas for stories.

Although I’ve referred to the local supermarket as a necessary evil (It’s a Tesco Metro), I do embrace capitalism when it’s so convenient. Even though it dominates the village high street, there’s still a bit of a village feel to the place, thanks to the staff. In fact, one piece of writing planned for next week is a letter to Tesco’s head office, praising the staff in my local store. Without exception, they are friendly and helpful people and I’d like someone to know that they’re appreciated. As a society, we find it very easy to complain (because there’s so much for some people to complain about) but relatively few people give credit where it’s due. I’ll probably get some vouchers or Club Card points for my trouble. There’s one young lady there who makes me smile and I hope we can talk some more on Sunday.

There is no plan: It’s not like that. I have no desire for things to progress any more than I imagine she doesn’t. I’m a complicated animal with a lot of baggage and although it’s been my intelligence and character that have got me places in the past, those people found me “difficult” to live with at times. I’m still on what is a very personal journey sometimes and some of it is too complicated to involve anyone else in. I love the solitude here but the mutual harmless flirting with the Sunday girl is a welcome distraction.

Perhaps one day when she’s scanning my shopping, she might notice my name on my Club Card or my Guardian subscriber vouchers. Then she might Google my name and see that I dominate the front page of search results, and run away. Pushing romanticism to one side, for that is not my point, she may find it interesting to learn that I’m a writer. It’s a nice way to be discovered in any case: Delirium Tremens; An angry angel.

Over the last few months, my intellectual stock has been in the ascendency. What this means is that I’ve achieved an egotistical aim which I didn’t even realise I had: When I meet someone new, all they need to know is my name; Then I can just say, “Google me”. Then they have lots of ways to contact me. That’s pretty cool, now that I think about it.

Maybe one day I’ll ask someone to take my hand for the walk alone, when it’s a less bumpy ride. There will be no further car crashes in my life but when there are fewer rumble strips telling me to slow down.

Just not yet.

4 thoughts on “Welcome to the walk alone

  1. Life intimitates art, so I had to ask: Luckily, no spoilers.

    All of my stories come from somewhere inside and a lot have at least a tenuous link to real events. Even though my typewriter churns out horror pulp fiction, I do like to write the odd tale of whimsy. The latter probably do come from somewhere deeper and it’s nice to know that they’re affecting. I’ve been making people think in ways they might not want to for quite some while (and making some physically shudder!) and I like to affect people in ways other than recoil.

    “The Unfinished Literary Agency” is not finished (I mean, actually, as opposed to literally or figuratively): There’s a lot of timeline covered in the first draft, with pieces deliberately missing but I may fill in some gaps. There is a big sub-text to this story, which I’m not sure I’ve made apparent enough, whilst still keeping it sufficiently un-written and left to the imagination. Obviously any further speculation would be inappropriate but your feedback is useful and the final version will be published soon.


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