Saturday, 28 May 2011

Don't let the bastards keep you down!

I've nothing to add. Dave says it all for me :)

Monday, 23 May 2011


ennui [ˈɒnwiː (French) ɑ̃nɥi]
a feeling of listlessness and general dissatisfaction resulting from lack of activity or excitement
[from French: apathy, from Old French enui annoyance, vexation; see annoy]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


I woke up today feeling so bored - more than bored. In the short-term, can't go out anywhere today, because I have students coming later and need to prepare lesson plans, and I'm blocked creatively, so I can't write anything constructive for my novel. On a grander scale, I have no ambition whatsover - ambition is what drove me through life until a few years ago. Now I just fill up time with hobbies, but I'm even bored of them today! The dreary drizzle outside, and thick cloud cover isn't helping either.

I was born a musician, but I feel I wasted my life on music. As soon as I could hold an instrument, every waking hour was dedicated to the pursuit of music, for thirty years. As an adult, I've always worked as a musician, working the club scene ('til the government destroyed musicians' earning potential with the smoking ban), and - quite lucratively - for record labels and studios, providing vocals to cover up for so-called talented celebrities' lack of skills, all the while hearing the bleating "Why don't you go on X Factor?" blah blah blah from the idiots. The masses harp on about how talented pop stars are, when the truth is their lack of talent is hidden by excellent production and real musicians and vocalists, both in the studio and onstage, hidden behind stage sets.

I can't even be bothered seeking new opportunities in that field right now, because it's soulless; like knowing I have to be a prostitute for the foreseeable future, bleh. Sure, the money's nice - and much needed - but I see music as an art, not a commodity, and don't respect myself when my creativity is a commodity. I need to live passionately. I was never one to think 'get good qualifications, well paid job, rich husband, two children, buy house, two cars, etc. But because I DIDN'T do that, I'm starving for a holiday and financial means to change my circumstances. I think it would be more pleasant to see someone else struggle beside me, hehe, a problem shared and all that jazz.

I have no other skills to speak of, having dedicated my life to music for the past 30yrs, so I can't get hired for a 'real' job - not that there are any jobs atm for anyone - and so I fill my time with my hobbies. It's fun, living in the moment and doing what I love, but sometimes I get bored, like I am today. Okay, saying I have no skills isn't true. I have numerous skills, just no paperwork to back them up.

I guess the main thing is knowing everything is an illusion. We're playing a game I didn't ask to join, and the other side are manipulative cheats. This knowing takes my ambition away. Success in the 'matrix' is irrelevant, really. But necessary in order to put food on the table. If I had ambition, I could strive for success, but it's of paramount importance to me to seek Truth, to explore Consciousness. My dream is to magically earn a large amount of money and buy a farm/chateau to renovate, with some livable space (or a caravan in the field!) and start a community there...somewhere warmer than England, with a stream or lake, and a well, and plenty of land to grow food on.

What to do, what to do...maybe I should seek solace in food. A full English sounds appealing.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Stuck in the middle with you, Brett!!!

I usually approach a novel as a series of vignettes that have important information about participating characters and devices to push the plot forward. However, when it comes to linking said scenes, I occasionally run into a wall. My characters are on different, equally important paths; paths which occasionally cross over or run parallel for a period. Their back stories have nothing in common, and they don't always arrive at the same destination.

I sometimes find it tricky when I need to introduce two or more for the first time. Maybe I'm pressuring myself in trying to force the issue and that's why my well of inspiration is dry. I know what the scene needs to accomplish, who needs to be there, how they need to interact, but somehow, it's not coming together. I have the parameters, but I'm all out of content.

I need Brett (the new kid on the block) and Wolf (the established musician) to meet at Brett's gig, in order to spark off the rest of their interweaving journey of hate, sabotage, and one-upmanship. Wolf's only there because his friend/roadie Alex invited him, and their other friend Jimmy is the promoter for the event. Wolf and Brett also meet a third, lesser character, Roxanne, at the venue, which sets her up for future scenes with both of them.

I've sat in front of my computer for months, trying to tackle this scene, and every time, I give up and move past it, and work on something else from a later chapter (I don't write in order). I'm a working musician; it's not like I don't have plenty of gigs to draw from! I wonder if this sinking sand rut is my subconscious' way of telling me the scene is not going to work, or if it's because I'm allowing recent negative exchanges with musicians cloud my creativity...

I find sharing a problem always helps one to look at it through fresh eyes, even if no one has a solution. A blog I read suggested I haven't thought the story/exchange through sufficiently, which could be true, or that I don't know my characters well enough. Wolf is a close friend, surviving into Headliner from my first novel, Swallow, but Brett is another animal. I'm still getting to know him.

While thinking about this latter possibility, it occurred to me. I really don't like him.

My book needs him as the antagonist in several characters' journeys, and he has a great story arc, but I don't like him. When Wolf was the antihero in Swallow, he had something likeable about him, so even when he was doing the most despicable things to other characters, the reader could still empathise with why he acted like that, even if they didn't agree with his behaviour. Swallow, being my first novel, cooked on a low heat setting for years. I don't want to take years to write each book, to get my ideas on paper! But I knew my characters inside and out by the time I developed the skills required to write a great novel. I have to find ways of getting to know my new characters intimately in a shorter space of time, if I am to overcome this obstacle.

Perhaps I shall write out a biography for him, like I did with my Swallow characters. And if I can think of someone I've encountered along the way in the 'real' world, that might help, too. The importance of getting this scene right is counterproductive; I've written all I can in separate scenes and now I need to start tying it all together in a linear fashion, so I can fill in the blanks, and direct the important choices.

Let's finish with a song. This pretty much epitomises a LOT of gigs and musician social circles I've endured - oops, I mean, enjoyed...

Stealers Wheel - Stuck in the Middle With by halxman