Wednesday, 19 January 2011

What Is It All About?

Once upon a Christmas I got £25 so I spent it on the latest editions of the various writers’ (writer’s?) books, despite these already being months old.  A good start to the New Year.  I have been going through the ‘Stories – Complete’ folder to make sure everything is up to standard and taking word counts so I can see what can be sent where. 

I have had The Hair cut (I have an irrational fear of hairdressers.  Or is it irrational?  Maybe they do all hate me), although for some reason can’t photograph it.  I stood in the bathroom this morning (afternoon), looking in the mirror, holding up the phone ready to take a photo.  I am looking at two images of myself at once, so why is the one in the mirror quite nice and the one in the phone horrible?  They are of the same thing at the very same time.  Maybe it’s like how when I record something on TV on to video, it suddenly becomes thinner (good news for actors). 

I have a dentist check up on Friday (time for the annual floss) and I intend to actually get a doctor.  I went outside of my own accord to indulge a hobby; the D-Day museum showed a series of films from the war.  Definitely a good start.

I even applied to the old job, who always said I was welcome to return, so I could use that to supplement the income rather than relying on the JSA.  And how pathetic am I?  They said no.  I can’t even get a job that I did for four years, that I was a manager of.  But then, I have to be that pathetic.  That’s me.

I don’t think all the complete stories are that good.  Should I send them off anyway?  Is that a waste of my time, or am I just bored of stuff I’ve read a zillion times and really, they’re fine?  There’s Inflatable Church, which came from a timed assignment in the first year at uni, in which we had to write something inspired by an article about an inflatable church.  I think it’s obvious.  Not bad exactly, but I don’t think it puts me in a very good light and it certainly never goes anywhere. 

I still think that As High As Ten the piece about tourists visiting Auschwitz is lacking in something, no matter how many times I rework it.  Last night I watched Schindler’s List, and that just made me even surer the story isn’t working.  Now I’ve moved the first sentence, so the first word is Auschwitz, so it’s more in mind for when the actual visit happens at the end, but then that overshadows the rest of the story, which on a basic level is about the relationship between two people.  Or is it just a list of anecdotes from a holiday in Poland?  Maybe it would help if the Czech Republic hadn’t slipped in to bolster The Memories.  Maybe it would help if I were able in any way to recreate realistic emotions with words.  I’m a writer, dammit.

Working Title: Handy about a dismembered hand (Thing-style) is much less interesting than I remember.  I guess that’s partly the joke. 

But then there’s Working Title: Not-Wedding, which I wrote in year 2, reworked a lot (now it has a specific style, which is never a good idea) and it builds to a punchline.  Really?  A punchline?  Again, maybe it’s okay, but I think generally I’m more sophisticated than that.  Or less so, but different anyway. 

Most of my short stories that I like are more like novel extracts.  And isn’t that a problem, because then I want to write entire novels, often based on no plot.

Speaking of no plot, The Housemate has finished critiquing my war ms, Working Title: The Road To Confidence, for me.  I haven’t actually read his comments yet, but his verbal ones are rather uplifting.  Apart from the no plot thing.  He liked it.  Although to an extent, I think he’s biased.  I did research for a historical setting, so that impresses him.  With Working Title: The Unadulteress, it was about a woman’s marriage, and he kept using that as an excuse; it wasn’t that he didn’t like it, but it wasn’t the sort of thing he’d read.  Now, because he hasn’t that much knowledge of WWII, suddenly he must like this story because it knows more than he does. 

I’m blunter than that.  I don’t think genre is an excuse and I don’t think ignorance is either.  If I watch an action film or read a fantasy story and I am bored, I don’t think it’s because explosions or silly names aren’t my thing, I think it is because it wasn’t well made/written.  There’s no need to stick to genre clichés (maybe marketers feel differently).  Any story can be good if it’s written well. 

Some random stranger once launched into an attack on me because I don’t like 2001: A Space Odyssey (film).  He said just because he doesn’t understand a piece of art doesn’t mean it isn’t good.  I think that’s nonsense.  Art is entirely subjective, and if I don’t like it, then in my opinion it’s rubbish.  I’m not going to admire something just because I don’t understand it.  That’s ridiculous.  People seem to think if they don’t understand a film, it’s because they’re stupid and therefore the film must be genius.  Perhaps the film just wasn’t very well done, but that doesn’t occur to them. 

And yet, people still moan that Back To The Future Part II isn’t that good because it’s confusing.  It’s not confusing.  It’s time travel, they already did that in the first film and no one complains that’s too hard to understand, and besides all that, Doc actually draws a diagram on a blackboard to explain it to Marty.  Are these people seriously suggesting they’re less smart that Marty McFly? 

Anyway, I don’t believe films are art.  I believe they are entertainment.  Primarily, at least.  I also think it’s rude to have a go at a stranger.  You should be polite to strangers.  Be rude to your friends.

And it has made me very hesitant to write this blog.  I have the temptation when someone real or fictional starts going on about inner feelings or opinions for no reason, to say, “Jeez, get a blog.”  And I’m terrified of that.  I am blunt and very opinionated.  And in a sphere where there is no one to argue against, or no weirdoes to pop up and ask for the examples (met someone like that last year, needed you to back up every statement.  Got to the point where everyone in the room would shut up rather than stutter and mumble, “uh, well, I heard it somewhere…”  Even well thought out opinions seem to crumble under scrutiny), with no boundaries, I’ll just be ranting out my opinion.  Cathartic, yes, but also liable to turn people off if they disagree.  And a blog is intended to have an audience.  If it was just for me to keep track of what I’m doing, firstly, why’d I need to do it on the internet, and secondly, that’s what the brain is for.

That’s why I haven’t been on yet this year.  I wanted to determine what the blog was actually going to be.  A chronicle of the writing, yes of course.  But possibly a little sharper.  Less internal rambling?  Something people might actually want to read?  But who wants to read something about stuff that doesn’t even exist yet? 

I was so sure I had lots of important amusing essay-style articles floating around The Mind that a blog was the way to go, and instead I find myself doing nothing, to avoid sounding like an idiot who hasn’t thought through their arguments.  Or is it just that said articles involve research and the ol’ L-A-Z-Y gets in the way?

Right.  Sod it.  I’m going to post some film reviews.


  1. I'm not going to read the film reviews because I haven't seen the films and I'm probably not going to. I think you should put an extract of your creative writing up.

  2. I think you should read the reviews, Gillian.

    For one thing, they're intended to be interesting pieces in themselves, as much as any article. For another, they might give you an informed opinion about each film - maybe not the one you'll share if you see it, but that's part of the fun. For (yet) another, well, how do you know you're not going to watch the movies? And why not?

    Lastly, for security and copyright reasons, it is often frowned upon to actually put your stuff online. Depending how much we're talking about, it can create roadbumps later.

    This is Gareth, by the way. I'm thinking of changing my name to reflect this. Hope you're well.


I look forward to your enthusiastic and loving comment.