Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Block – Unblock

I guess everyone who has ever had a go at writing continuously and at length knows that feeling that, somehow, you can’t get going again. There’s that last page, staring at you, and for whatever reason, you can’t seem to start the next. If you write as I do, following the story where it leads you rather than planning the narrative out in detail before you start, then the block can be particularly intractable.
Some time in the late 1970’s I wrote a kind of adventure story, The Boy and the Mountain, which pleased me greatly at the time (but didn’t attract the interest of any publisher!) In fact it pleased so much that I started a sequel – but after 19,000 words, I laid it aside. I was busy being a husband, father to a growing family,  and heading up a teaching department of thirteen at the time – and it seemed to me that the camel’s back might give way entirely if I stole several hours a week for writing as well. So I laid it aside.
I’ll come back to it sometime, I thought. Later. Later …
So later, I came back to it.  Thirty-several years later, to be exact! Margaret nobly rendered both the finished and the partial book into Word documents (the originals were, of course, typed clunkily on an Olympus typewriter, vintage 1963: no word-processing in those days) and after a lot of stuttering false starts, the time has finally come when I can declare the book finished.
La Palma, the western-most of the Canaries, is a wonderfully tranquil place – and we have found the perfect idyll there. Visit if you want to see it – highly recommended for total, beautiful, chilling out. And in that wonderfully restful and uncluttered place, I managed to knock out the remaining 40,000 words of The Boy Among the Islands.
Finished! After a third of a century gestating! Is this a record?
Getting both books ready to become  Kindle e-books, now – watch this space!

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