I wrote another book. More aptly I should say I finished it before I got to the end of the last rewrite of the book I’ve been working on for the last four years on this site. Put simply, writing about old wrestling shows became far easier than facing my own story and the many flaws it has. Hence nothing here since August.
I’ve been podcasting, I’ve been miniature painting over on Instagram, I have written reviews on videogames alongside my son and I have been plotting how to write a text adventure game. As the world caved in with a cocktail of COVID and Brexit these things felt like instant wins. Clamouring back to the coal face of aliens from other worlds and Scottish tourist villages felt far too much of an uphill task. It’s a task that must begin again though especially as I’m not that far away from a possible ending.
There’s a chance my head is a bit out of practice with creative writing though so I might go and write something fairly short to get back up to speed. If so it’ll get posted here.
The very best to you and I hope you’re all keeping safe and well.
A book seems a really big and all consuming thing right now. Having finished the latest draft a couple of weeks ago during lockdown I’ve touched up a few chapters but not gone back to it since. I’ve taken to doing smaller writing tasks that provide much more of an instant gratification upon completing them. I’ll spent time reviewing a cheap game over on the video game blog my son and I keep. I’ll write some more about wrestling and put that up on Bad Education. I’ve also discovered single player role playing games during the lockdown, one of which is scratching that writing itch just dandy right now. It’s called The Machine by Adira Slattery and Fen Slattery and it’s something of a revelation.
The Machine involves the keeping of a journal detailing how your character makes the titular contraption. It can be anything you want it to be. In my case it’s quite small like a pocket watch and able to sing songs from within. You play the game alone but the idea is that, once your character meets their demise, you pass the journal onto a friend so they carry it on as somebody who has found or been given the same journal. My current character is a discreet magician (I figure he’d have to be in order to keep his tricks under wraps).
You select two options from a list of about sixty jobs and characteristics, crossing them off the lost so nobody else can choose them. Using a deck of playing cards you lift the card on top and the number and suit influences what has happened. For example my first entry proper was the six of diamonds which gave me ‘hateful’ and ‘a sleepless night’. There followed a frantic half hour as I described my character pacing around his elaborate study in the early hours sketching his grand plan for the construction of the machine that would gain himmhis fortune. After those thirty minutes I was done, I could move on, I had achieved something. No long think times, no sitting infront of a blank page and no going back to rewrite. The Machine is part game and part creative writing exercise and if you’re a writer at a loose end or needing something of a writing based distraction then it’s a good $5 to spend.
The book still hangs over me though and it’s something of a problem to work on it knowing that there’s a whole heap more to do before I get that ‘done writing’ hit.
Gretna, for those who don’t know, is quite famous for weddings. Being the first town over the border when going from England to Scotland meant that many young couples took advantage of Scotland’s more relaxed marriage laws many hundreds of years ago. Despite the law being repealed many moons ago the tradition has continued. Hence, in my home town, it’s not unusual to walk down the street for milk and the newspaper and see a newly married couple. When they set about getting the builders in a few months ago to extend the registration office it looked like the wedding business needed more room. Then I heard it was to rehouse the local library.
I’ll be honest, I hadn’t visited Gretna Library since I was very young. We had got our son a library card for Carlisle City Library, eight miles away and over the border into England but for some reason we’d never got anything for the library just up the road from our house and on the way to school and back. Maybe it was because it was part of the community centre with limited opening hours, maybe it was also because it was an old, dusty place.
The new place opened about a month or two ago, it’s actually doubling as a county council centre as well which was housed in another aged building up the road. I checked the opening times expecting it to be the same as the last library, open for about four hours every other day with a one hour lunch closure. In these times of council cuts it seemed only logical it would be the case. To my surprise, the library now has extended opening hours and is open until 7pm some evenings. After picking up my son from school on Friday we finally went to check the place out.
It’s a brilliant place, quite small but then it’s serving a small town not a large city. A really good selection of material as well. We were there for about an hour and fifteen minutes before we realised it and now Kyle and myself both have library cards. Upon arriving back home I remembered that it’s been ages since I had a library card for anywhere as the last time was probably whilst I was at art college for the campus library (itself now closed due to cut backs ironically enough). It feels really good to have a much improved facility as this within walking distance.