The Tree: The Complete Lovecraft #18

Some stories just chime with your inner soul. They cut to the quick, and speak to you in ways others don’t. Even different stories by the same author can get to you in different ways, some you might love, some you might be ambivalent about, and some you may even hate. Once in a while, though a story comes along that cuts past all the rest. One that stays with you and wanders back across your mind days, weeks even years later. The story you’ll go back to again and again, be it a grand epic such as Stephens Kings ‘Dark Tower‘ or something smaller yet perfect like Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ or Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’, or just a short story that echoes within you and your mindset, that says something to you that is true or at leats a truth of a kind. Lovecraft’s ‘The Tree’ is one that does it for me every time…

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It is far from one of his more famous works, far from the strangest, it’s possible even far from the best-written. Its central tale is a little prosaic, and it certainly isn’t horror, though it contains a few horror elements in its makeup. It certainly lacks the eldritch grotesquery of some tales or the unsettling quality of others. It is nothing more in many ways than a study in human nature, human subtext, and the power of a lie, of concealing a truth even in its climax, that twists context on itself. Indeed the most powerful thing about this story is just that, it is a lie, told by one who does not understand the untruth in his words, so that the reader has to come to his or her own revelation in the end. If someone was to read it at nothing but face value, then the ending would make no sense at all. In short, it is a clever little tale that demands it’s readers are reading with their intellect engaged. Which is why I hold it in such high regard.

‘The Tree’ is no unique in this regard, lots of fiction requires it’s readers to think as they read and consider the subtext. But few writers, and fewer still tales, do it with such eloquence and even contemptuous calculation. It is in that a rare gem indeed. Demanding a cynism of its reader, or perhaps just exploiting the cynic within him.

The tale takes us back to ancient Greece and tells us of two friends, Kalos and Musides, both masters of the art of sculpture, who though wildly different in personality and tastes share a common bond. Both are lauded by all, and neither would claim mastery of the other. They even share a home so close is their friendship. Then the Tyrant of Syracuse invited Kalos and Musides to compete in the creation of “a wonder of nations and a goal of travellers”. Reasoning that the two masters we strive against each other to create the greater work. Which indeed they do, though to hear the tale told there is none of the usual traits of rivalry between them and their friendship remains as strong as ever. But as they work Kalos fall ill with a beguiling wasting sickness much, to hear the narrator tell it, to the dismay of Musides who nurses him throughout his long illness but Kalos wastes away to the strange affliction and dies in time. He asks to be buried with olive twigs near his head though his friend wants to make him an elaborate tomb. Musides follows his friends wishes and Kalos is buried with the olive twigs in the garden of their home and over time a tree begins to grow above his grave. A strange and far from a normal tree.

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We are told throughout of the great love between the two men, of how Musides becomes morose and strangely tempers as his friend wastes away. After his friend dies he pours his energy into in sculpture, determined to create his masterpiece as much, he claims, for the memory of his friend. he is, however, a changed man, still dark humoured and angry with the world, and the strange tree grows as he works, an odd sinister aspect to its nature, that seems to scare Musides, though none can fathom why.

The lie is there, plain to see, yet kept hidden and dismissed throughout the tale. Which is why I love it so much. but I’ll not spoil the lie by telling the truth of it here. It’s a tale that needs to be read to be appreciated in my opinion.

Oddly enough Lovecraft did not share my appreciation for this tale.  “if typed on good stock make excellent shelf-paper, but little else.” is his own somewhat damning summary of its worth.  But then a tale owe as much to its reader as its writer sometimes. This one speaks to the cynic in me. Which make it fitting it is set in ancient Greece…

In case you can not guess its a whole six tentacles from me for this one. A whole squid if I am honest. I can not say you will enjoy it in the way I do, or love it as much as I do, in this case, it is all down to the reader’s view of the world…

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Further Lovecraftian witterings 

 

 

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Hate ain’t working…

 

A couple of months ago I watched a BBC documentary on the KKK, an organisation whom I will happily admit I despise on principle. Which was also the viewpoint that was taken by the filmmakers, who rightly held little sympathy for the views expressed by the subjects of the documentary. But then it’s hard to have much sympathy for a man who is looking on with pride, as his 4-year-old dons a white hood and starts shouting ‘WHITE POWER’ while making the kind of salutes that were popular in Germany in the 1930’s. It’s not easy to hold much sympathy for a group of people who burn crosses and speaking of the need for a race war. It’s even harder to hold much in the way of sympathy when you know your one of the very liberal left that the KKK despises almost as much as they despise people of colour. These are not my people, in any way, shape or form.

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I hate racists, for many reasons, but mostly I hate them on the very simple principle. I have been rob, threaten, insulted and treated like crap by far more white people in my life as people of colour, because I have met a lot more of them. People are people, and arseholes are arseholes. The colour or creed of a person has no influence on their ability to be an arsehole. If I dislike people, if I hate people, it’s down to the things they do, not the colour of their skin, or for that matter, which the particular fictional sky god they happen to pray to.

Hate is perhaps a strong word. It is, however, a natural reaction and a very human reaction, to hate what you don’t understand. Just as it is natural to feel threatened by something or someone you don’t understand. That, ironically, is the real crux of the problem I have with racists.

I don’t understand them because I don’t understand how you can hate a race or a people because they are different from you. You see… Irony. I am caught in my own loop. I hate the people who hate because I don’t understand them and the seed of their hate is fear, derived in part from them not understanding the people they hate…

It’s hard to find sympathy for the members of the KKK. For racists in general. Just as it is hard not to hate them, and in doing so fall into the same trap, just from a different direction. Hate is alluring, it compels you into its web, like a spider beckoning at your with one leg while it prepares to pounce with the other seven. Hating them without understanding the reasons for their hatred and the source of their rhetoric is just as dangerous and as foolish as the hatred that drives them.

And, there are reasons for their hatred, there are always reasons for hate, reasons why people end up in right wing organisations. Just as there are reasons why people end up in left-wing organisations. Often with the same irony, these reasons are much the same.

An example in the BBC documentary was one of the main subjects of that documentary a man called Ralph. Ralph grew up through the South Carolina school system. The high school he went to because of where he grew up was 80% black. As a minority within the school, he was treated, at least to his mind, badly by the black majority. Bullied and isolated by the colour of his skin. The school itself was poor and devoid of resources which only made the divisions within it stronger. Under-investment in a majority Black school left the white minority even more isolated. Resentment can breed quickly when you are the other, and in that situation that is exactly what he was. It’s not entirely surprising that a young man going through the system and feeling like the outsider graduates towards those who tell him he is under threat. Those who offer the protection of the group. His views on race and race relations are informed by his environment in other words. And sure it is easy to say he should have risen above all that. That it is no excuse for racism and hatred. But sitting in our ivory towers and looking down on him and his choices doesn’t solve anything.

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There is the important thing we need to consider when we chose to hate racists. They’re, despite how much we would like to paint them such, not stupid. Or at least no more stupid than the next bunch of people you come across. They are not all ill-educated knuckle dragging morons. They are just as much products of society as we are. Their attitudes and opinions are likewise a product of society. Affirmative action and education are not enough, in a society where racism is rife actions on both sides of the line, the status quo ultimately feeds the hatred. And hating racists for their ideas and beliefs doesn’t work. Hating the haters just feeds the hate at the end of the day. We need to understand why they hate and try, no matter how difficult it may be, to have some sympathy for what made them haters first. If we can ever hope to overcome racism.

In Ralphs case, had his school been a little better funded. Had it worked harder to include everyone, and prevent the sides been drawn, perhaps he would not have ended up being the father of a four-year-old in a white hood. Starting a whole new generation down the same nasty road…

Perhaps then I would not find myself drive to hate Ralph for what he stands for…

And back to irony…

 

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Reviews for Passing Place

While I seldom post reviews of my own work on my blog, it is occasionally a worthwhile exercise, and as people have been nice enough to write I really should. As such here are the a few of the current Amazon reviews for Passing Place. Or as it may also be called, look these people enjoyed my novel, so would you, so give it a try…

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5.0 out of 5 stars A journey to nowhere and everywhere. Loved it…

By F. de Vocht on 26 Sept. 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is an (unexpected) gem as far as I am concerned. I read the writer’s first book as well, which was also an enjoyable read, but this one fitted a lot better with the genre I normally read. It’s a very interesting mixture of fantasy, horror, a doorman with a past, a club with a forest attached, an engaging personal journey…all mixed with a bit of suspense.
…oh, and there is a cat. An odd one…
In summary, it combines many different things with a story that goes nowhere and everywhere, and I will be waiting impatiently for the sequel….

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Format: Paperback
This is Mr Hayes second novel…
There’s more than a touch of the Neil Gaiman, who gets a nod when one of his characters makes a cameo appearance.
The concept is rather nice… I don’t want to give too much away, but a strange bar requiring a piano player meets a man on the edge of desperation… With sundry encounters and many tales (and indeed tails) along the way.
A favourite character of mine is the doorman, and his back story is very interesting indeed.
I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next.
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice touch of the mysterious
By Pitbadger on 12 Sept. 2016

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5.0 out of 5 starsA book not to pass on

By Robert Treadwell on 21 Feb. 2017
Format: Paperback
The passing place is Mark Hayes second published book but the writing and the depth of book would no hint at this.
The story slowly tells the tell of a man looking for himself and comes across the place that we all need at some point in our lives – a place where we can pull up a chair and tell our life stories around a fire and bounce off each other. The author draws you into the stories and you can’t put the book down as you want to discover the next twist and turn, who will appear next and what is their story and how did they come to be passing through.
The author is able to change pace as well as type be it horror or sci fi or fantasy and still keep you drawn into the web of the story.

Highly recommend that you dip your toe into the paddling pool of works of this author – and before you know it you are up to your neck and swimming in a rich sea of worlds that touch ours.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Hayes reached deep in his soul to produce … 27 Sept. 2016
By Katie S – Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Mr. Hayes reached deep in his soul to produce this read and a philosopher emerged, spinning a tale that takes us alongside the main character, Richard, whose grief presents reality in a questionable light. This is not my usual genre (slightly dark fantasy), but I have to say I was blown away by the in-depth look into the human psyche. A highly enjoyable 5 star read.

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The choice illusion

It’s an old trick, a good one, one with many variations, many names, but its all the same trick. A trick that hangs on the same guiding principle, creating the illusion of choice. the illusionist can pull this off with one person, a small group, in a club, a theatre, on TV, hell with an audience of the whole world. Ask the right questions and you can guide the outcomes. Let me run you through it. Suspend your disbelief for a moment, because I have just told you everything you really need to know about the trick and how it works, so forget this first paragraph and let me write something down on this piece of paper while you open that brand new deck of cards for me, Marko the Marvelous magician extraordinaire…

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Marko…   draws something on rd on a piece of paper, folds it in half and sticks it in his hatband where everyone can see it “open the pack and split the cards into red and black, just throw out the joker’s for now, we won’t need them.”

Audience… splits the desk by colour and hands the jokers to Marko who throws them away. Then places the cards as instructed in two piles.

Marko… “Okay then, pick a pile, and remember to watch the cards…”

Audience…  points at one

Marko…  turns other the half the audience picked “the blacks, okay then that just leave us with red cards,, hearts and diamonds,, divide them up by suit.” then he throws the black cards behind himself.

Audiance… divides up the deck once more 

Marko… “Okay then, pick for me, hearts or diamonds?…”

Audiance…. “Hearts”

Marko… “Okay, that just leaves us with diamonds then…”  he pick up the heart and throws them the way of the black cards, “Now Let’s get rid of the picture cards as well while were at it as we can’t really divide them..” he picks up the diamonds and sorts of the jack, queen and king and throws them away too “Now lets see, how can we do this, I know split them into odds and evens.” hands the deck back to the audience member. 

Audiance…  split the cards into two piles once more.  

Marko …  palms both piles and moves them about a bit, dropping them and picking them up, Nothing fancy then puts his finger on one pile and says “What do you think odds or evens?”

Audience…  thinks for a moment, knowing there is a trick going on and trying to second guess it, then says “Odds”

Marko…  turns over the pile, its evens, he shrugs ” Oh well not to worry,” he says as he throws them behind himself and the asks the audience to pile the pile into highs and lows. Then does the same dancing little shuffle of the two decks and puts a finger down on one pack “So what do you think this time highs or low?”

Audience… thinks some more, mildly disappointed they got it wrong the last time. Then says “Low”

Marko… turns over the two card pile, and brightly says ” Your right.” smiling. 

Audience.. smiles back, they got the choice right. a little “Yay” even gets exclaimed.

Marko… throws away the high cards and “So just the five and the three left…” folds each slightly and dances them over the table then ” This time you pick, put your finger on a card.” The audience does just that and Marko says... ” So which do you think it is the five or the three?”

Audience … thinks for a moment then says “Five…”

Marko… pick up the other card and looks at it, Smiles and says “Your right it is, which leaves us with this one, the three of diamonds”  he turns over the card, as the Audiance member smiles having made the right choice…       

Then Marko takes the piece of paper out of his hatband reveals…

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So did you spot it, did you see the trick, the slight of hand, the slip and slide. If you didn’t then you should read it again because the trick is right there for you to see. It’s less impressive written down than with a real magician doing it. Easier to see passed the smiling face, fast hands and quick words, but it’s a trick that has been around for centuries, and fools people every day. Variations of it are everywhere. Sometimes the piece of paper with the cards name is in the hatband, sometimes it’s painted on the underside of an aeroplane that will fly over at just the right moment. Or perhaps written in icing on a child’s birthday cake. It doesn’t matter, the trick always ends the same way.

The trick is not the card, or the piece of paper, or the magician’s smile. It’s simply this, make the audience think they are making choices, that their actions influence the cards discarded, and that their decisions lead to the three of diamonds. That the magic lay in Marko the Marvellous knowing somehow which card they would choose ahead of time by some secret art taught to him by the learned.

Rather than Marko never letting them make a choice, indeed, making every choice for them, steering them down a path he knows they will follow, because its not the cards we should have been watching, but the choices we were bene given.

Magicians have done this down the ages, but they are amateurs when it comes to this trick. The real trick being described above, the one pulled off all the time, everyday in fact, is called politics. And politicians are so much better at convincing people they are making decisions and making a choice that has some influence on the outcome than magicians ever are. We all know magicians are frauds even though we go along with the trick most of the time. Yet somehow we keep convincing ourselves the same is not true of others who offer us the pretence of a choice while they stack the game for the outcome they design.

And that, in all honesty, is my opinion of the Brexit referendum and the American election come to that…

 

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The rules of good writing…

There are a great many rules when it comes to good writing. Many a word count has been written explaining them in infinitesimal detail. Generally, however, the best way to explain the rules is with a little humour. Humour being generally the best way to make a serious point or two at any time. So here is the list of do’s and don’t that should be pinned to the wall above of every writer’s desk some days…

  • 1. Avoid Alliteration. Always.
  • 2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  • 3. Avoid cliches like the plague. They’re old hat.
  • 4. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
  • 5. Be more or less specific.
  • 6. Writers should never generalise.
  • Seven. Be consistent.
  • 8. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous
  • 9. Who needs rhetorical questions?
  • 10. Exaggeration is a million times worse than understatement
  • 11. Avoid carefully, prudently and judiciously the overuse of adverbs
  • 12. Avoid writing lists

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The Impossible Search for the Perfect Sentance…

Occasionally writing becomes the search for the perfect sentence, this can sometimes become an obsession, and like all obsessions, it has a dark side. That may seem a strange thing to say, but you’ll have to go with me here to understand what I am getting at. Just as my 1000 a day habit cured me of apathy, and a degree of procrastination, the change of approach and the discipline it required also highlighted to me another issue I had with writing, the constant unerring drive to edit.

Now don’t get me wrong, editing is a vital part of the process, show me any writer who claims they don’t need to edit and I will show you a liar. We all do it, to one degree or another, and more than one of us is obsessive about it. Terry Prattchet, the father of Discworld, was known for ‘fiddling’ with his text right up to the point of no return when his publishers sent a novel to print. When asked in an interview why he did this he replied, “It’s hard to let your children go out into the world.” he is not the only one, it’s a sentiment repeated by many authors.

Editing can be incredibly creative in its own right. Another Terry story, this one told by Niel Gaiman, occurred when they were writing ‘Good Omens’ together. Niel wrote a passage and sent it to Terry, and the next day received it back with a note from Terry saying he had added six words to the passage and made it 33% funnier…  A little sub-story telling the readers a little about a passing characters life, and how he used to lay on the grass with his then girlfriend and spooned in the sunlight beside the canal. To which Terry had added the words ‘and on one memorable occasion, forked.‘ Which is about as perfect a sentence as is imaginable in the context of the tale been told.

As Stephen King has wittily said…

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There in lay my problem back in the days before I made a conscious effort to change my approach to writing and embark upon my 1000 a day habit. Quite apart from my procrastinations, and general willingness to be distracted, I was obsessed with the search for the perfect sentence, and in that quest, I would find myself mired in an ‘edit as you go’ mentality. To give you an example, I actually rewrote the first three chapters of ‘Passing Place‘ about thirty times over the course of two years, while (and this is the important point) not making any headway with chapter four. It is a problem which I share with other writers. The desire to make every word sing, to make every sentence a perfect sentence, before moving on to the next, only to open up the document the day after and find it is all so much drivel to your jaded eyes and start over once more.

I had a conversation with another writer on Facebook the other day, which was sparked by a message about a previous post, but mainly by the quote from Neil Gaiman below…

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The argument put forward by the other writer was, in essence, “Yer, but then you spend hours editing it and get nowhere.”  Which was a reasonable enough observation, but when we spoke about it a little further the crux of his problem came to light. He, much like I used to be so often, was stuck in a first draft. Ever reworking a few thousand words in search of a perfection that was at best a pipe dream, if not utterly unattainable.

Let us take a moment and consider why perfection is unattainable in a first draft, there are a couple of reasons that spring to mind.

  • Until they have a complete first draft then most writers, myself included, have only the faintest of ideas what is actually going to happen. Yes folks, we make it up as we go along, by definition in fact.
  • No writer is ever satisfied by what they have written. Okay, that might not be entirely true of everyone, but certainly, the vast majority of us are seeking perfection, and the only person who can judge if it is perfect is the harshest critic we have, ourselves.

My advice to this writer, based on my own experience, was to write rather than edit. That is, rather than seek the perfect sentence just write, and keep writing. If you go back to the previous day’s work, something I always do, just read through the last couple of paragraphs or so, tinker if you must for ten minutes. Get it out of your system. Then push on with the writing. Write it through, and get that elusive first draft finished.

This is what I did with ‘Cider Lane’. It’s how making myself write 1000 words a day became a novel, because at some point I found my flow and a story I needed to tell, so I told it to the audience I had to please first above any other, myself.  In all, I was writing a lot more than 1000 words a day when I was in full flow. The first draft that came in at 65000 words I wrote in a little under a month, and sure then the editing began, and the search for those perfect sentence. But it is a hell of a lot easier to find those perfect sentence when you at least know where they are leading to. By the time you have finished your first draft you know your characters, you know how they think, how they react, and where their story is going. Which matters, because, the perfect sentence is a sentence in context. When your characters speak, the words need to be spoken as they would speak them. In the same way, your narrator’s point of view will infect the way a sentence is written, and a perfect sentence is only perfect if it conveys what you really want it to.

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James Joyce was a man who sought perfection with words in the first attempt, he was its fair to say better at it than most. He famously would consider it a good day’s work if he got a whole sentence down, provided it was the right sentence.  I am not James Joyce, however, and I know I will edit myself into extinction if I let myself do so. Better I find to leave editing to the second draft.  My way is not necessarily the best approach for all. It just works for me, but I will champion it all the same, to anyone lost in the quagmire of first draft editing and the endless search for that elusive perfect sentence.

So if you find yourselkf in editing hell while working your way through draft 1, stop editing, just write and keep right on writing…

Of course, once you start writing draft 2 its basically all editing and all bets are off. Thats the time to seek the perfect ssentence..

adios for now

Mark

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1000 A Day Habit…

To be a writer, you have to write… this was a conclusion I came to a few years ago, which still holds true. To borrow some advice from one more qualified to talk about successful writing than I…

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This then is the crux of the matter. You can say you want to be a writer, dream of being a writer, you can even have the word ‘Writer‘ written in your passport, but unless you actually do some writing…

The problem, as often as not, is there are some many other things to do rather than write, which is a somewhat solitary activity you undertake in your writing cave. There are movies to watch, series to absorb on Netflix, books to read (because if you don’t read a lot you will never be a writer), a social life to have, work of the paying kind to do, social media, video games, sports team to watch, walking in the sunshine, life in general. There is a lot to do and only so many hours in the day. How then do you find time to write?How indeed… Well you make time is the simple answer, you apportion a part of your day to writing.

Put aside the Xbox controller, the TV remote, turn off Facebook, twitter, and those hilarious YouTube videos of cats. Set a time to write and do it, whether it’s a couple of hours on an evening or you get up two hours earlier on a morning or use your lunch hour at work. When is not really important, it’s doing it that matters. It doesn’t even matter how much you write in your cave time, not really, though I have found it wise to set some form of target for myself. To borrow from Mr. King once more…

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Which is, as ever, wise advice from Mr King… though what you actually have is a first draft and an appointment with the editing demons. But it is a point well made.

I set myself a target a few years ago of writing 1000 words a day. This was way back before my first novel ‘Cider Lane‘ when I was still struggling with what would eventually become my second ‘Passing Place‘. I say struggling, it would be more accurate to say avoiding. I would write when the mood took me, if no other distraction was on offer, all the while following every other bit of advice I had ever read about becoming a writer. I kept notebooks on me all the time, another at the side of my bed. I would analyse every movie I watched to figure out what the script-writer was doing behind the actors. I would note down anything that seems like a good line, or an interesting turn of phrase, or an idea that crossed my consciousness. I read everything I could, as vociferously as I ever had. All of which are good habits to have as a budding writer, but what I didn’t do, importantly, was actually write. Pen did not touch paper, keyboard did not rattle with keystrokes. Every now and again I would have a couple of hours of trying to put a few words down, but that gets you nowhere if it’s just every now and again.

So I decided to set myself a target, a 1000 words a day, every day, rain or shine. Turn off the TV, shut down Facebook, shut out the world, write, and… It worked…

Not straight away, it took time to force myself into a routine. Time to find that space in the day to write, and time to find my stride. But I wrote, one word after another, and kept doing so. I wrote short silly tales, erotic scenes, long marauding jokes, worked on ‘Passing Place‘ which was still very much in its infancy, blog posts on my old blog. Anything really. I just wrote. My hard drive if full of snippets here and there of those 1000 a day snippets. Stories that start nowhere, go nowhere and say nothing much, but one day I might stumble over and make something of. Several chapters in ‘Passing Place‘ started out that way once I finally got into the novel properly a couple of years later. The important thing at the time was not what I wrote, but that I wrote. A 1000 words a day, every day, which usually became more, but it was never less, even if what I was writing was utter tosh because usually after a while it became good. Like an athlete training his body to compete, a writer needs to train his mind to write. So I kept at it, sometimes just scraping past the thousand, sometimes rushing past and writing twice as much or more. And finally somewhere along the way I started ‘Cider Lane‘ though I did not know that’s what I was doing at the time.

When I finished the first draft of the novel I did not realise I was starting I took some time out deciding I had earned a break from all that hard labour. Yet within a few days, I was missing that thousand a day habit. It is, after all, an addiction of sorts. Not ready to edit I started back on the randomness for a while. Somewhere along the way, Kram Seyah dipped his toes in the water for a while. When I finally published ‘Cider Lane’ a year later I did take a break for a few months. Too long in fact, as getting back into the habit was hard work and took several months or forced labour but once I did ‘Passing Place’ began to take shape.

And now… which is the reason behind this post, I find myself back out of the habit, nine months after publishing ‘Passing Place’ and I have written very little. I have plenty to work with, ‘A Spider in the Eye’ sits waiting to be written, as does ‘Maybes daughter‘ (both at around 50k words and waiting for the real work to begin.) I have a couple of chapters ‘Something Red‘ the sequel to ‘Passing Place‘ kicking about on the hard drive. But what I don’t have is the old habit of a thousand a day. So it’s time to make time once more and get back in the habit. And to any budding writers out, my advice is if you want to be a writer then do the same.

To leave you with another quote, this one from Neil Gaiman which I think is apt for this subject…

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Which is exactly correct in every sense…

(coincidently this post is 1137 words long, that’s my thousand a day for today at least, which is a start…)

adios for now

Mark

 

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Other posts on writing and self-publishing are collected here:

https://markhayesblog.com/publishing-and-writing/

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