The most self-indulgent post in my world


One day I sat trying to write a blog post, wondering why I bothered. Then I said to myself “John,” for my internal monologue refers to me in the third person in private, “I know you enjoy your relative anonymity, but hell and damn-wise, man, the world deserves to hear your inner-most thoughts. It’s a duty you have for the sake of our children.”

At that point I stopped, having inadvertently caused a paradox by inferring me and my third-person internal monologue could reproduce.

But is this really the case? Do I have a duty to share my inner-most thoughts with the world? Or should I presume that what I think has been thought before and that I should stop clogging up the internet?

I know what you, my avid reader, is thinking. You are thinking, “But John,” for your thoughts are all ways addressed to me, er, itself, in this manner…hang on….I’m confused now, ” We each have our own little world with it’s own little crises and victories. The texture of our being is woven incrementally and the result is utterly unique. That should be shared, yes, to enrich all that we are?”.

Being argumentatively and tautologically contrary I respond in kind. “But, dear reader, we are a bag of water and salts. We’re all the same. And we all experience ourselves in isolation. Sharing it is impossible. There are no words.”

There is a third person hiding behind a conveniently placed doubt. They say, “You are both wrong,” obviously referring to me and my internal monologue, “It is the act of sharing that enriches the individual. The people out there cannot judge, they can only consume the words, the essence. Or not. The consumption does not refer to the creation, It is not a feedback loop.”

Both I and my internal monologue shift uneasily at that point. The bastard behind the doubt has just effectively destroyed us by invalidating our actions. Another bloody feedback loop. We head for cover, spending the coming months in a cabin in Switzerland. To pass the time the internal monologue lets me blog.

The result is are what you see (if you exist). The most self-indulgent blog of my life. The result of boredom.

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Prolix Inveigle Discombobulate Tuft…


Words, eh? Lovely cuddly spongy words. I love ’em. Can’t get enough of ’em. I can frequently be found using them (not often correctly).

I read somewhere of a blog that was whittling down their favourite words to get to a “Best Word Ever”. Last time I looked the finalists were ‘Gherkin’ and ‘Diphthong’, two lovely words. They are not my favourite words, however. I have a penchent for ‘Prolix’ which is, after some thought, ironic. And also ‘Schism’ and ‘Woggle’ and ‘Flap’. Not to mention ‘Quixotic’, ‘Inveigle’, ‘ and so on.

In fact, the reason I write at all is because of a book I accidentally stole from my mate – namely Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. For the first time in my life the sheer beauty of the written word was apparent to a heedless youth. The way the sentences were formed in that book were chaotically and inspiringly beautiful. I felt quite blown away by it. I’ll admit it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – some think the book is awful – but I loved what was wrought in those pages. Suddenly it all made sense. That book is why ‘Prolix’ is my favourite word.

Anyway, I know this is somewhat jumping the blogger’s bandwagon, but what are your favourite words??

Get thee hence, draft…


Well. That’s that then. Another 23,000 words consigned to the ever-increasing pile marked ‘Put down to experience’. Yes, it’s another writing blog post big on introspection, flimsy on entertainment. I could not blame you for being bored already, but hold on, young and easily strung-along readers, there’s more…

Having enjoyed a period of relative productivity (I have low standards) I have ground to an almighty halt. I have bored myself with my characters and story, which can only mean one thing…it’s crap. I was listening to Fantasy Faction’s podcast interview with Joe Abercrombie, that giant of modern fantasy. He said something that resonated with me;

“…if you don’t read what you write and think, actually that’s quite exciting, you’d never get past the first page.”

Characterisation is becoming distinctly problematic. I don’t have confidence in my own hodgepodge half-arsed approach and I may have to actually go and do some bloody learning on how to do it – a course or some such huge annoyance. This is not to say I will stop. The world-building is coming along. I have places I can visualise, and a general awareness of the layout and set-up. I have got an idea about the magic system that is pretty much nailed on. SO there are positives…I shall contemplate further.

Meanwhile I will start again. Surprisingly, this whole tortuous process has revealed a more refined plot and structure, though the ‘how’ to address it remains elusive.

Women, know your place!*


*This post title is a reference to Harry Enfield sketches that parodied the nineteen-fifties attitude to women, and NOT my personal opinion. I thought I’d better say that first rather than suffer the wrath of female-kind. I also thought it might send a rocket up some bums. That’s not a euphemism. Oh dear…

That said, the reason behind this post lies in a quick looksee at the Amazon top lists of Kindle Fantasy books, and how it showed that there were far more female fantasy authors than male (on the list at least), and that I had just finished reading some Trudi Canavan books.

Every pore of my being is teling me to just let it go and that whatever I say will be put down to misogynistic generalisation, but I am so bereft of inspiration for this blog that I am desperate and willing to court controversy to ease the blockage.

The books in question, by Ms Canavan, were her Traitor spy trilogy. To be honest, I forged through them only because I’d been foolish enough to fork out hard-earned cash for ’em, but I was perpetually annoyed by the tone throughout. I’ll concede it was well-written, but where I would normally get lost in the story – the characters, the scene-setting, world-building – this time I was constantly being reminded that the author was female. Whether it was the perspectives, the emotionally texture, the relentless FEELINGS, or the overt female-centric nature of the protagonists/plot, I just kept feeling that ‘gender’ was hovering over it like a big, lovely lady cloud, and that is not a feeling I get from male authors. That’s probably because I am a man, or maybe the title tricked me into not realising this was a romance…

I am not saying that there shouldn’t be love, romance and frissons aplenty (that’s part of the genre), I just don’t like it being overt and in yer face.

What that says about me as a reader (aside from I probably wouldn’t like 50 shades) I cannot tell. Maybe it infers that I am, on a fantasy novel basis, a misogynist? A fantamisogynist, if you will (dammit, that word is now MINE). It is certainly true that some of my favourite fantasy books have been by women, but I found myself scanning that Amazon list looking for male authors to look into, which surprised me somewhat. It may also say that I am repressed, emotionally, but I cried at Lassie films as a child, a fact which scotches that misconception sure enough.

It may come down to the nature of the beast. It would infer that writing in the fantasy genre is much more popular to women than men, or that female fantasy writers are just more successful, but I think it is certainly the case that fantasy is not a purely masculine vice as it might have seemed to have been in the past. I think that this is a damn good thing, but it is a shame that Trudi Canavan’s work (and it is a very well crafted bunch of books) and a number of other works by women, has made me yearn for male authors. Perhaps that is not a criticism of the books, as much as evidence of my own intransigence.

Saying that, I am very willing to be persuaded otherwise.

Eye Wonder…


Have you ever gone on holiday and had the feeling you left something turned on? Yes? No? Well, maybe you should write a comedy routine based on stuff like this and then intersperse it with jokes about airline food and mothers-in-law. People will lap it up.

Anyway, that was my introduction to today’s post; a post that at this time has no theme, save for the doodle I have put up for your delectation.

Conventional wisdom suggests I should weave the subject of the drawing into the text of this post, perhaps making one or two incisive comments and deriving a conclusion that is as tenuous and flimsy as using the inferred existence of WMDs as an excuse to steal M&Ms from the shop.

But I defy you, convention, you beguiler, telling us what to do and when to do it based upon reasonable extrapolation from years of evidence. I spit in your false face, tradition with your big silly chin. And etiquette? You can shove that one up yer arse. You won’t find this post being led around by the unmentionable. I fly in the face of protocol, like an unconventional, wildly unconvincing rebel.

At this point I should be summarising my post, noting the key points, perhaps. Or issuing a witty aside to distract from the pointlessness of what you have just read. But I won’t, rebel that I am.

So. in summary, I am attempting to infer that I am no slave to convention. Note points A to C above as proof.

Navel-gazing


As both regular viewers of my posts will know, I am consistant in my inconsistency. I am 15k words into version 3.0 of my current project and I am at the point where I have to decide what my direction is, which has occurred on precisely two other starts of this story. It is a time of ponderous thought and introspection, which is what the regular blogger absolutely LOVEs. There’s nothing better than pontificating about yourself, even if you are pretty much the only person listening.

But you don’t want to hear about my woes, and my crippling inability to get more than a couple of thousand words out on a good day (an optimistic estimate) or how I have no actual talent for writing. No, you want to hear about something interesting.

Well sorry to disappoint, but the forging of a piece of writing IS introspection personified. It is no surprise that agoraphobics love to be writers, as do misanthropes and the perpetually angry, and the reason is that you can dwell on your opinions, your feelings and your peculiarities and use them as fodder to the writing. There are other reasons, but as an angry agoraphobic misanthrope I forget them.

Cathartic is the word. For me the writing is a chance to face the inner demons, of which I have a few –  impressive ones stacked away in my subconscious like angry bats. If I didn’t have my writing I would find my life significantly less bearable. Thank you, words.