Overcast this afternoon; there’s a storm rolling in. Forecast gusts up to 160 km/hr. House battened down. Pool inflatables retrieved. Outdoor plants shoved together. The first scattered spray of rain visible across the valley. And this is summer!
We spent the morning down by the beach, though. Catching up with my old friend Paul, who has spent the last eleven years overseas. He was quite happy to play with Leila on the beach, making a castle with a moat and a bridge to cross a clear stream of fresh water coming down from the hills above. We walked out along the jetty where the ferry docks, and looked back at the bay. After that he came back to our house for a cup of tea and more talk while Leila watched cartoons. We went up to the pool, which has the best view, and I rolled the cover back, which I’d forgotten to do earlier.
I like rolling back the cover. Like feeling the warmth coming up off the water, and the smell of chlorine. I know some people hate the “fake” smell of pools but to me it’s deeply relaxing. Reassuring. I immediately think of hot days, hamburgers (a very specific smell association), swim caps (I had grommets when I was young), playing Marco Polo, and doing flip-turns (which I really can’t do anymore).
I’ve not been writing much these holidays; not been writing much since I wrote THE END on the novel back in November (or was it early December?). It’s been really hard to get myself to go back to it, after the first few re-reads and note-taking. I wonder if it’s been a bit much. My first inclination is to read it a few times, then sit down with a blank page and re-write it from memory. Keep the good bits, and hopefully gloss over the bad. But I’m trying to do that How To Revise Your Novel course by Holly Lisle, which has a specific approach, and I’m finding I am really, really, resisting going back to the book as a result. To the point where I’m so tempted to just chuck it in the filing cabinet and start all over again with something new. The uphill battle to shape something out of this hodgepodge is just going to be huge. And I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
I’m wondering now if I shouldn’t have ploughed ahead during the first draft, the way “everyone” says you should. “Just get it done! Then you can rewrite!” Well, this is true, but there’s also something to be said from rewriting what you did the day before, before continuing onward. I also think that taking a big break from writing, half-way through, was a terrible idea. I was stuck at the time, which is why I wasn’t writing, and by the time I came through the other side the story took such a different tack that when I read it now it’s like reading two different stories.
Maybe I do have two different stories. Maybe that’s what the problem has been here all along.
More thinking about this blog, and what purpose it serves. It is so far down the rabbit hole of vanity project that it’s hard to see it as anything other than egotistic outpouring. But it’s been going on for so long, the habit to “check in”, so randomly, that I wonder what I would do without it. The earlier stuff is so infantile, however. Seriously, what to do…?
Maybe a digital journal is more what I need, a la Doogie Howser. I’m such a diary nerd – his writing at the end of every episode was my favourite bit of the whole thing, complete with mechanical keyboard clacking. Complete with white text on blue monitor background.
And I miss floppy disks. The way you could only fit so much on one. The SMELL of them, too. That reassuring soft cranking of the computer as it committed your text to disk.
Like most people, I have a reasonable online life. I post stuff up to Facebook and Instagram, and I have a half-hearted relationship with Twitter. But these days I’m pretty tempted to delete it all, untill I arrive at a better idea of why I would want to use these mediums (media?), other than the reason that they’re there. While it feels like the world is getting more and more online, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by it. I don’t want to get my news from Facebook – but it’s everywhere. I don’t want to feel obligated to these mediums any more.
Maybe it’s the new year. Maybe it’s turning 40. (40!) Maybe it’s the fading light and rising wind. It’s the feeling that words, which used to feel so precious and valuable, each one slaved over with pencil on blue-lined paper, erased and written-over, crossed out and diagrammed, have come to feel cheap, or too-easy. It’s too easy to spill with words these days, too easy to assume authority. Too easy to lose yourself in the potato-chip-ness of being “online,” of consuming without nourishment, of consuming without discretion, of writing, but not even writing to yourself. Writing to everyone, which is the same as writing to no-one.