Month: July 2017

Mind the Gap

London 057Last night I dreamed I returned to the United Kingdom. I always meant to go back there, to live there for a time once more as I did when I was at University.  The last time I visited, I took my then fourteen year old daughter. We enjoyed such an adventure. There was no plan. We traipsed around England, mostly staying in London, exploring freely. London had changed a bit since my school days, but not so much as to lose that ambience of long endurance and that incredible air of fable. Time still seemed in long supply, and I believed I would return again. I did not factor in the world going quite so utterly mad.

I dreamed of a withered and dying United Kingdom, a divided and broken land, its culture and people utterly vanquished.  South Kensington, the place I had lived as a student, was lined with crucified bodies, heads on spikes. Masked men wearing  black robes patrolled the streets, heavily armed. In my dream, they turned to carrion birds to feed on the ashes of the land they conquered. It was horrifying. Perhaps, a symptom of watching entirely too much Game of Thrones.

I woke up weeping for its demise more than I think I would for my own country. I rolled out of bed in the night’s darkest hours before dawn and immediately took to my computer to seek plane reservations that I might return there before my visions could come to fruition.  All of this, thinking I was awake as I woke to a bright morning to find my reservations well in place. I packed and gathered my passport and arrived in London. No, I had not awaken from my nightmare. The UK was still there, but it felt dead, like a movie set more than the real place.  I told myself it was the hour of the day, and entered the tube station at Piccadilly Circus.

People packed into the platform and that gave me comfort. Here they all were, citizens of London, waiting for their train. The train came and true to nature, the people queued up to enter as a mechanized and polite voice reminded them.

“Mind the gap.”

No one did. BY the time I boarded the train, all of those people disappeared into the gap which for me was a simple step and for them, an unscalable chasm. Then I awoke to my life once more, and I wrote this blog post. Let this only be a nightmare. Please, world, mind the gap.

Coffee, Tea, Revisions, and The Pug Method

Ah, revisions. Endless revisions and a long, hot holiday weekend with too much light and one pug. I am running out of clean coffee cups rapidly and actually losing my mind. 

It starts at 4 Am the first day off my day job.  I light candles, put myself under some headphones to block out the world with ambient music, and on comes the computer. I write and revise until the pug wakes up and demands her morning ritual – a walk, breakfast, and a cuddle. For me it’s more coffee and a protein shake. More revisions. 

Then there is passing out, perhaps lunch or something like it, more revisions until the pug needs another walk. Then outside I go for a swim, maybe to read a little (clears the creative palette), and then up for a shower and more revisions. I accidentally walked into the wrong apartment on my way up from the pool today. It’s day 3 of this routine. And my mind is beginning to blow apart from reality. 

There is no bedtime. I try to sleep the last few hours of daylight. Then as the sun is quitting for the day, the pug and I venture out for a final walk. Then it is more coffee and more revisions. An hour of sleep here and there in an attempt to revise 99,145 words in a long weekend. This is in hopes of having this book ready for beta readers in 5 weeks. 

I suspect The Pug Method is employed by precious few of my fellows.  I have tried the stay healthy and sane methods, a few hours here and a few hours there worked into the routine of a responsible adult.  It doesn’t work for me. A routine of that kind renders my writing dull and predictable.  Only when I deprive myself of sleep so I can write in the darkness am I able to call the magic.  It is not a fault I seem to be able to fix. 

How do other writers manage? Can a real writer work their craft like a 9-5 job? I can’t imagine that myself. If only I were not so rapidly running out of time.