Saturday, 6 October 2018

I'VE BEEN AWAY!



I have certainly been away. Hence the big gap between my talking to you. In my instance it's been a happy 'away'. I was on a holiday where I vowed not to use technology unless it was absolutely, unquestioningly, desperately, needed, as opposed to wanted. So, no facebook, blogsite or other time consuming social media, for a whole four months. This could be considered as  social media suicide but I needed to test it. I needed the clear space in my head to think of nothing more than my own new daily experiences.. Using my smart phone only for important phone calls or bookings of space I found much more time to do other things. Things like visiting family, viewing landscapes frequently simply whizzed past in a vehicle. Things like strolling over fields, staring up at massive ancient trees, sometimes flinging my arms around them, or as far as I could reach and remembering that I am a part of Nature. Time to climb hills and view the vast array of natural wonders, whether in the rain or in the warming sunshine. Things like struggling up the dozens of  stone steps worn away by thousands of feet over centuries, steps leading to towers, battlements and lookouts. Treading the stone floors of aristocratic mansions, of Bishop Palaces, of Cathedrals, of University Halls, of centuries old libraries and old churches and fortresses and castles. Yes,you got it. I've been away in the UK. Travelling to places not visited before. Walking up the couple of dozen winding steps up to my wooden seat in The Globe, was an absolute highlight. Watching a fabulous performance of Othello, one of Shakespeare's best plays, I think, in the same kind of space that patrons would have seen it in Shakespeare's time. Amazing to consider! We all laughed or sobbed or groaned at the famous words, just as people did four hundred years ago. Probably in the exact same places too. My brain was certainly away  into the realm of awe and wonder. I could easily have been described as being away with the fairies! The skill of such a playwright makes me gulp with astonishment. What a psychologist William Shakespeare was. His assessment of human nature is totally relevant today.

Thinking of having been away makes me recall when as a young girl I would hear adults whispering about someone who had been away. I was ten before I understood that this meant the person had been in prison. As I grew older some people who had been away were spoken of with envy.  This meant they were lucky enough to travel overseas,which in the late nineteen fifties/early sixties was a new thing for the English working class. How things change. Ensuring people are away from stress and depression is now what is needed to be worked on. Perhaps if we all occasionally spent time away from our daily work and worries and even away from the constant demands of family and friends to simply contemplate the wonders of this earth, or the pleasure of creative activities, this would aid in this health problem. Being away from our normal lives for just a short time can sometimes be as refreshing as a long trip away.

Anyway, now that I am back I trust you will continue to read what I write. Love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

HEROES



We all need heroes to look up to and to do our best to emulate. My main man is William Shakespeare. Not only because he used words in a way like no other writer before, or, I would suggest, since, but he also created hundreds of new words. Now that is imagination at its best. Not only this but he formed the words into plays that spoke of the human condition and of human nature in a way that any modern day psychologist should envy. His observation skills must have been fantastic. It's as if he understood people to their very core and recognised how their joys and pain were best expressed. He  was able to turn any situation into comedy or tragedy, or both and often in the same play. Being the consumate playwright, who needed to make a living for himself and his actors, he  knew he had to please his audience, most of whom were the ordinary people who stood and watched and probably laughed and cried and hassled as loudly as any modern audience at a concert or a stand - up comedy gig. Throughout it all he managed to make serious comments about social and cultural issues of the past and of his own era. These well tested comments have travelled so well that his works have been performed in each decade down each century. (with a few exceptions) What better judgement of quality and skill and relevance is there than that.

While I admire the words written by Paul Simon, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Leonard Cohen, each saying very profound things about people and life in their songs, I doubt if they will be performed in four hundred years time. But then this is not certain. It is good to think they might be. Words that describe how people think and feel at any given moment have a power of their own.  All power to words and thank you William!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Coincidences



A discussion that involved the use of coincidence in a story written by me made me check more accurately the use other writers and other media make of them. Having checked out books and TV series it appears that coincidence is clearly used a great deal to push the storyline. Plots in Crime particularly need such coincidences to further enhance the pace of a story. How many times do the criminals, chased by the police, find themselves down an alleyway at the end of which is a massively high wire fence? How many times does a character come across their lover in the arms of someone else, when they arrive on the scene totally unexpected? How many times is a train or bus missed by seconds, only to turn the story in a barely credulous direction? There are hundreds of instances where the coincidence of people meeting in a certain place makes the suspension of disbelief compulsory. That is fine by me.  In my book, Riding The Fate Train, I push the point further, questioning whether it is Fate that makes certain events occur and is therefor a greater impulse than mere coincidence.

Life is full of coincidences, whether man made or driven by Fate. A book I am reading about a Jew caught up in the life of a concentration camp during WW2 could be said to have been saved by Fate, by the coincidence of meeting another prisoner who helped him to work safely for the Nazis' rather than be killed immediately or slowly by over work and under nourishment. Many others did not have this trick of Fate to save them.

SO the question then is not the use of coincidence in a story but the number of incidents directly impacted by it. This can only be discussed within the context of a particular piece of work. So no space here but it is interesting to contemplate. If, by coincidence, someone of great importance reads my blogs and admires the writing as well as the philosophy, then maybe I will be rewarded with a publication in some mainstream magazine or paper. Ah, such are the dreams of the imagination.  Coincidence? Fate? Who can say? Hope reigns eternal even if coincidence does not.

Friday, 30 March 2018

THE LAST POST?


Words are wonderful when they are communicated to other people. When no one else reads or sees or hears them then it becomes rather irrelevant. As my posts seem to go mostly unheeded, at least unanswered, I may not be writing many more blogs. Time will tell. I may feel more optimistic next time.

Words, new ones, are a thrill to any writer yet when reading the words that make up the names of artists performing at the Byron Bay Blues Festival I had to shiver. For of the dozens of performers listed I knew only a few of the names. Sad. It is a generational thing I am sure. All the same it is a bit scary to be so out of touch with so many of the latest recording artists. Admittedly it is not my kind of music and many are from overseas. I am a Beatles and Beethoven type of person.  But..is there an excuse that these words, these names, so important to so many people, have been completely missed by me? To be a moron or not to be, that is the question!

It was however great to hear words from my short plays spoken on a stage, where they have previously been acted out, performed fully, instead of just being read. It enabled me and the audience to concentrate on the words and this was a good lesson for all of us. For me it brought home how important words are. Sure, the actors enhance a performance with movement and emotional gestures but without the words, to be spoken, to be acted upon, there is little to a story, no matter how short or how long.

For today this story is short. Yet it reveals quite a lot. Let me know your story. Please. Respond in a few words or many.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

WORDS; MADE TO HEAR AND TO SEE.


Having just spent two full days at a gathering where producers explained the massive undertaking required to produce major works for either cinema or television release, I began to comprehend that although the WORD is the most critical part of such projects, there is so much more to creating the end product. The organisational skills, the skills of hundreds of cast and crew seemed to be an almost endless list. The actual numbers of people involved can be guessed at when credits roll but it is often difficult to count the actual number. 

Having noted this however, it is still the Writer, with their words, whether in producing dialogue or scene setting or action instructions, that is the beginning of the whole process. As such, this is at least one of the most important components, if not the be all and end all. 

Sadly it is rare that a writer's name is recalled by an audience when often the name of an actor, or a director, or less often the DOP (Director of Photography) is often recalled. Why is this? Is it that Writers, in their metaphorical ivory tower, are rarely visible to the buying public? Is it that their contribution is not appreciated sufficiently, or not understood? Or, that being at the bottom of the pile in terms of worth, they are not seen as all that important. If it is the latter case then this is shameful. A Writer writes the words that solidify any kind of creation, even a painting or a photograph is, generally, titled. Those commercials we are all bidden to watch, whether great or disgustingly bad, begin with ideas written down in words, before the story board drawings.
Even signs in supermarkets are words. Doctors notes are words, even if barely legible. 
So what is a professional writer to do? I guess it is to simply be pleased and grateful if their words end up in a product that many people watch or read. That is about it. And if no one reads these words, that is sad too. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

AWESTRUCK AND HUMBLE


Two words, awestruck and humble, are ones that can cover so much emotion. As a woman I am awestruck by sunsets and sunrise, by lightening, by the incredibly clever design of a magnificent butterfly, by the seemingly vicious, yet essential skill, of a raptor. There are a thousand other things in Nature. Then there is the awe with which the courage of other human beings hits me. I am currently reading a collection of stories, all true stories, written or told by Indian women, living in India. The poverty, the discrimination, the violence, the near slave conditions of working, the impact of marriage and the small incomes,if any, they receive. I am both appalled and angered by the revelations. Yet upon reflection, after my grandiose responses subside, I am in awe of their ability to survive such lives. (There is also some hope for them on the horizon but this is slow arriving)  I am also humbled by all of these very same events from Nature and people.  For all our pomposity we humans are mere cogs in the wheel that rotates the earth. Yes, we do more than our share of damage, just as a tiny bolt or a wrong sized nut can bring down a gravity defying plane but there are still those who amaze and humble me for their commitment to helping others, whether at home or abroad.

Now, as a writer, I am frequently in awe of the skills of other writers. I admire the way they put together a plot, or the depth with which they create 3D write characters. I am envious of their structure ability, or the pace of the gallop towards the conclusion of a story. More frequently it is the use of their language that fills me with wonder. One such occasion was during the TV series Call the Midwife when one sentence  blew my mind for its accuracy in coming out of the mouth of  a particular character. No other character in the world could have credibly said those words. I just yelled with awe at its perfection and of course was truly humbled by the writer's skill. The character is the eldest Sister in the Priory. We see that she is senile, teetering on the edge of dementia perhaps. . We have learned that she is from a wealthy family, bordering on the aristocratic. Clearly they were very strict and although she would have been born at the end of the nineteenth century it is easy to imagine her family sticking to the 18th century rules of morality and decorum. Very strict. Very conservative. She has had a great education and is very erudite, even in her dotage.

The sentence? In the episode in question modern (1960's!) rock and roll dancing was being discussed/shown. Her response, said in serious vein, was "My family refute all charges of giration." Hope I recall it correctly. Apart from it being a lovely line it is as perfect for the character and occasion as any of my hero, William Shakespeare, could have written..
Bring on more awe and humility, I say.

Monday, 22 January 2018

TIME FLIES


Well, never a truer word spoken. Or so many people say. Of course time does pass and it does seem to fly, meaning in essence that time moves at a faster pace than we humans can move..whether walking or running. However, it is not time itself that is to to blame for this sense of life racing by. Not even debating what science has to say about time and relativity, it is humans that make time relative to what they want to fit into it. How often words are used to alleviate the guilt of not doing what should be done, for the comfort of others as well as for the well being of the self. "Ï never have time to visit Auntie Jane." Ï never have time to read novels, even the good ones my best friend writes." Ï don't have time to sit by a river and just think." It is really how we use the time we are given on earth that makes the difference to how we feel about its passage. Naturally the majority of adults have to use up a lot of their time just earning a living. The lucky ones doing work they love, or at least enjoy. Others having to fill in time doing what they hate, or at least do not prefer. This difference may be caused by how time was spent in early life, either in working hard at gaining a good education, or formulating other plans or simply by just hanging out...letting tomorrow take care of itself.

Once we are adults we are, in effect, in charge of our own time. We can plan it to give ourselves the best chance of doing what we want to do, outside of earning a crust. It is not easy and yes mistakes are allowed to be made. My mistake was in not realising early enough in life that I was a pretty good writer. I should  have spent more time not only in exercising the craft but in convincing others, publishers etc, how good I was, or at least, would become. The blame can be placed at many things but it comes down to individual choice. Those who are fortunate to have mentors or guides do get a leg up but it still boils down to how we use time ourself. 

So, I could add that I meant to write this blog two weeks ago but other stuff got in the way. I just haven't had time. But it is my fault alone that stopped me from sitting down and writing as I am now.  It has taken a is mere 40 minutes of my time, doing what I love to do and hopefully sharing it with  those who take the time to read this and my previous blogs. Probably an hour of your time. Nothing really, out of the 168 hours a week we are all blessed with.

So please red and leave a comment on this page. Put in your email address to learn more of how my next book is progressing. It will be great to read your thoughts about anything I have written ever since I set up this blog some time ago. 😚