It so happened that I took a week off blogging. I was out of ideas and also out of time because I was too busy with work. I was also markedly out of motivation thanks to the, let’s say, the latest trends in news. But I am happy and proud to report that I have finally mastered the art of having an opinion and not sharing it on social networks. Thank you. Thank you.
Start/end of school year
Twice every year I feel compelled to shout “Freedom!” like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. The first time is in September, when school starts, and the other time is at the end of May, when school ends.
I know it sounds paradoxical but it isn’t, believe me. Both occasions mark the end of a period that has in certain ways been taxing on me. The summer vacation taxes the central nervous system because of the constant worry what Little C (not so little now, she is NINE and the whole world must know it) is up to, because of the need to nag about reading and, this summer, also writing and doing maths. It’s a chore and it must be done, so all our lives are easier down the school road when it would be impossible to tell her what to do. We’re cunning this way, me and Big C.
And then when school starts it’s heaven for a while until the daily school run begins to get annoying, which it invariably does around November. The cold may or may not have something to do with this but by late November I am eagerly looking forward to not just the Christmas holidays but also May, which, at this point, is depressingly far. Anyway, now is my favourite time of the year. School’s over and it’s way too early for the summer exasperation. I call June heaven.
A week off blogging, on herbs
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but since March I’ve been gorging myself with news about the pandemic and its effects on various economies. It’s not by choice, of course, but I haven’t complained in a context where so many people have it much worse than me. I thought I was doing mentally okay until I started having mild anxiety attacks when I went to bed.
Mild or not, an anxiety attack is not the best bedfellow, so I went to the local pharmacy and asked for a herbal concoction a friend with much more serious anxiety problems than me had recommended. “Covid-19 got to you?” asked the pharmacist. “No,” I said. “I work in news.” “Well, you must be pretty tough to last this long, then,” she said.
Apparently, a lot of people have been popping sedatives like candy since the start of All That Crisis. I can understand. I think I grew five years older in a matter of weeks with all that checkpoint business. What I don’t understand is why anyone, and I mean anyone, who is not required to binge on news, which has been invariably bad since March, would do it to themselves, willingly. After much thinking, I’m ruling it a bad habit on par with smoking. But more damaging than smoking and I’m not joking even one bit. Overdosing on news is extremely bad for your health.
The drafting/editing equation
I think I might — just might — have solved the writing/editing equation. Which I didn’t know existed until a couple of days ago when I finished editing the close-to-100,000-word story that The Dansk Finanzbar Chronicles turned into when I read them last year and decided they were boring. Yes, it’s confusing but the important thing is I now have two different stories, which is good. But about the equation.
Drafting is usually pure pleasure for me. The story flows and all I have to do is write it down as it comes. I keep an eye out for time continuity and plausibility and that’s about it. Not with the book I have, after much mental exertion, called The Dreamer. The story was there all right and it was interesting but writing it was the most laborious thing I’d ever done. Every chapter was a struggle. Every paragraph was pain. All in all, it was an emotionally and mentally exhausting undertaking. When I finally finished it, I was so relieved I could cry.
Naturally, I dreaded the editing phase so I let the draft sit for several months, two of which I dedicated to the first draft of another book, which came out so easily I literally forgot I had written it a week after it was done. And then I couldn’t put it off any longer. The Dreamer had to be edited.
Which I did. Over three weeks. I finished yesterday with a few word changes, a few additional details to some scenes, and several fixed typos the spellchecker had missed. There were no time continuity horrors. There were no out-of-character lines or actions. The ending still made sense as did all the rest of the book.
Of course, my first thought was there was something wrong with me. I’d lost my critical eye, suddenly and irreparably. My second thought was that I would’ve had some symptoms if that was the case. I would’ve noticed something, and I didn’t. So there was a possibility my critical eye was live and well, and it was just a decent book. It still sounds unbelievable but when I removed the impossible, what remained, however improbable, had to be the truth. I mean, myself I always doubt but Sherlock Holmes? Never!
The drafting/editing equation, therefore, goes as follows: Easy drafting = editing from Hell. Drafting from Hell = easy editing. Conclusion: there is no escape from Hell, just a delay. And I’d rather take it first, and heaven later than the other way round. The problem is, it doesn’t work on demand. I can’t deliberately suffer through the drafting phase so I could have fun and relax during editing. Which just shows you what a subtle sense of irony the universe has.
In other news
There is no other news.