The thick plottens, at least it does if the thick is me. I am plottening like nobody’s business as the novel grips me. I wake each morning full of plot and can’t wait to get it on paper. I think it was possibly Sam Goldwyn who said he wanted a film that started with an earthquake and built to a climax, though the quote has been attributed to several people. Whoever suggested it, for a novel it’s a good idea too. For a comic novel I think it’s essential. The greater the threat, the bigger the laugh, the higher the climb the larger the pratfall, the more desperate the situation, the more welcome the light relief. It sounds like a description of my life, so far.
I am still regularly assailed by fears. Typing by the hour causes problems with my metal arm and my elbow, previously not a bit of me that was hurting, can really smart first thing in the morning. I would have to say if you wanted to be a writer and were full of angst about nothing physical, you should probably get over yourself. I am amazed at how lucky I was when I wrote for magazines, to deadlines and it didn’t hurt, either when I was doing it or the day afterwards. It’s always the case that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. This is true of the cancer returning, I am always awaiting the arrival of the big yellow taxi.
Some people have happy, easy lives but I don’t think any of them are writers. Misery is the fuel that propels the pen. Unresolved past issues are also a wellspring of words. Reacting to the occurrences of life with words on paper diffuses all those past detonators lying around to trip us up. Standard advice for bereaved people with issues with the deceased is to write the problems down and burn them.
I am also aware that I am still recovering from seven dreadful years, illness for a long time and major surgery. The AA has an helpful mnemonic HALT for the times when alcoholics in recovery are likely to succumb. The times are when they are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Over the last few weeks I realise all the days which have been black days or full of panic, or even times during the day when I worry myself to a standstill, all correspond to those conditions.
You don’t have to have had a struggle with drink, or have been ill to respond negatively to events at such times, I think anyone hungry, lonely, angry, or tired has a good chance of treating happenings with less positivity and more despair. The AA suggest at such times you should stop and take care of yourself. I am trying to do this but it doesn’t come easily after a lifetime of trying to please other people first and look after myself later or not at all.
I am still, however, counting my blessings. The greatest of these, in my estimation, is that I can write and I love doing it, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do a bit more of it.