Dispatches From Confusionville

Not much to say of late. Apologies to my reader if she missed my rambling dispatches from the front line of confusionville.

Was that supposed to be clever? Not really. It just sounds trivial and like trying too hard to be funny or clever – when it isn’t either.

Apologies for that too.

This year I have written a long short story, which is currently with the judges of a competition who will reject it like all the other things I have written have been rejected lately. And when I say “lately”, what I mean is “ever, except one story last year, and something else many years ago”. Not that I’m feeling sorry for myself. No more than usual, anyway.

No, these are simply the things which have been happening.

Writing. Quite a lot of writing. A routine of writing on weekend days, which meant that even though it hasn’t persisted when the novella was finished it remains easy enough to write on the weekend, when it had always been a struggle to get anything done in the past.

It has become apparent that doing a smallish amount of work every day can quickly get you to the point where a lot of work has been done. I suspected this would be the case, but I have proved that I am capable of doing it, which leaves me with a sense of arrogant satisfaction. A small sense of that. The predominant sense is that I’m wasting my time, which can’t be true, or any of the other obvious things unsuccessful writers say before they become JK Rowling.

Those whinges won’t be repeated here. The other ones anyway.

Moving from one project to the next one, from story to story, about different topics and with varying word counts, has been good. You must do the work: for there is always work to do. And a positive consequence is that a recent story was written with a distinctive style, which just seemed to kind of happen, and the result was something that pleased me, and was repeatable when I had another go at it, and it makes me happy, because although no-one will agree to publish the first story (probably), and they (you know “them”? Yeah, “them”) almost certainly won’t publish the second story either, good things will come of this new approach, which will work well for a certain kind of story, I think.

All of which sounds a bit grumbly and complainy.

My recent reading has included Crash (Ballard), Washington Square (James) and A Passage To India (Forster), and all of these, to an extent, has been characterised by a lack of surprise or plot twist or cliffhanger or totally unexpected event.

Perhaps this kind of story feature really isn’t so very important, depending on the way the story is written. I don’t mean that absolutely everything was completely predictable, because I’m pretty terrible at predictions (and shocking when it comes to guessing the murderer in the Poirot and Marple Agatha Christie TV shows) – but once a general course was set in these books, the action unfolded smoothly rather than jaggedly.

It should by now be clear that my ability to make intelligent comments on literature is severely limited, so I shall stop.

I will read more Ballard. I already love Forster and will continue to read him. And I will go back to James, but may perhaps choose more carefully before reading him again.

Just started Patrick White’s Voss. Already having misgivings, but am determined to give it a proper go.

A whingeing philistine, then?

Yes, that’s about right.

Thank you for reading.

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Published in: on July 1, 2015 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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