Today I saw a superhero walking down the street

It’s one of those days, a good day that feels ever so slightly at an angle to so called ‘normal’ days. Real things feel more real somehow, and unreal things feel slightly surreal. Superman walked down the High Street, his muscle suit bulging, although the cape action was hampered by the insufficient breeze. All the people sitting outside Costa stopped talking to watch him as he passed. You see? One of those days.

So. April has been, and gone; the appleblossom is done with, the lilac is almost over. I had bunches of it scenting the whole house for days; heavenly! There are still some Easter eggs yet to be consumed; we’re working our way through those… and my daughter has at last gone back to school  – she had a very long Easter holiday, which explains why my self-imposed deadline has  been missed. Yes, the WIP is still in its formative first draft stage. BUT there are only three chapters left to write, including the one I’m writing at the moment. ALSO, I have had several moments of clarity, epiphanies if you will, those bolts of open-jawed whydidn’tIseethatbefore inspiration so invaluable to seat-of-the-pants plotters like me. So not only do I now know how it will end, but also when it will end. And I have an additional plot device to enrich the narrative detail with when it comes to the Second Draft. So you have before you a basically happy neophyte novelist.

There have been other matters that have contributed to the curtailment of writerly effort, family matters on a par with the Life stuff that scuppered writing last July. But these are now mercifully in abeyance, and that’s all that needs to be said about that. And while I’ve been writing this I have come upon a happy secret – somebody let something slip – but it isn’t mine to tell, and I promised to be discreet, but it is a truly happy secret, and just goes to show that today really is one of those days.

While I haven’t been writing, I have been reading; Lionel Shriver’s So Much For That, and now David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.  If you’re looking for something new to read you could do a great deal worse than to pick up either of these titles. Both are tremendously good writers, and I have loved and am loving reading them. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Summer is rushing upon us for lack of rain and a surfeit of sunshine. And next weekend we’re off to glorious Devon again. Life is good.


New Discoveries

In the last three days I have discovered three new things. Firstly, the spare and strange beauty of Haruki Murakami‘s writing; on Thursday I started reading his short novel After Dark. What can I say? I’m mesmerised, seduced, enthralled. Which should I read next? Norwegian Wood, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, or Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman?

Secondly, I woke up this morning – after a night of a fairly reasonable amount of sleep, hurrah! – knowing that I need to cut a particular passage from La Nouvelle Cendrillon, how to imply the seeds of information it contains, and what to put in its place. This had been puzzling me for a while, so it feels good to know; more than that, it feels right.  Still have to rewrite the damn thing though. This beautiful weather is just too distracting – not that I’m complaining, per se. It’s just that sitting at my desk, under the stairs, and looking out into my tiny sun-filled back garden, obstructs the word flow. And if laundry has been done, it’s worse. Laugh if you like, but I find a line of washing, billowing in the breeze – especially bedlinen, or towels – strangely, deeply, satisfying. And slightly hypnotic. Now if I had a laptop, it might be a different story… As I’m holding out for a MacBookPro however, that won’t be happening any time soon.  The apple blossom is out now, smelling too delicious for words. The aquilegias will shortly be doing their thing, and then lilacs will be li-lacing the air with their blissful scent. Sadly, our garden is too small for a lilac tree, since they are dreadful ones for sending out colonising suckers.

The third thing; the work of the Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. I read an article about her today – I forget where, and I’ve already recycled the papers – and was fascinated. Her paintings (three examples here, here, and here) will I think prove a rich source of inspiration for me at some point. I think I will have to find a good book about her. There’s a rare exhibition of her work coming up this summer too. Alas I will be unable to get to either Chichester or Norwich. Never mind.

And that’s enough for now. Wonder what I’ll find, or learn, in the next three days?