In Dreams Awake

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.

(Henry David Thoreau)

Friday, 17 June 2016

A Wee Bit Better

 There's a vote coming up in the UK that some of you might have noticed (a bit). It's a referendum on whether we leave the EU or remain. I'll be voting to leave. The European Union is so corrupt that its own accountancy firm has refused to sign off the annual accounts for close to 20 years now. The officials are also not usually elected, like the Commissioners, so they don't answer to anyone and can't be voted out.

 Worse, the EU has failed completely to tackle the two big issues of today. One is the financial crisis, which has ruined the economies of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy. The IMF now refuses to lend any more money because those countries, Greece especially, are so indebted they can never pay it off. They'll be crippled forever, reliant on bailout money from Germany and others. The second issue is immigration, which is already breaking the EU bonds. Some countries want to welcome immigrants, but others refuse them and erect border fences. It's a mess and the EU can't deal with it.

 Since I think the EU is broken and will collapse, or at least fade into irrelevance as states take more and more control back, I think we're better leaving. But critical though this choice is, in the end it matters much less than taking care of my own business.

 My main task in the world isn't to change the course of the UK, or to influence popular movements. It's to look after my family and provide for them. I seem to have spent most of my life knowing what I wanted to be, the man I aspired to become, and failing to get there. Now I have Caz and Izzy, and they're absolutely my last chance to be that man.

 It's an indescribable feeling to come home after a tough day and be welcomed by this;

 Sorta makes the worries go away.

 So I'll vote to leave the EU, but I'll also - and more importantly - work to keep my family as safe and happy as I can. That means keeping up the hours at work, and pushing to get a publishing deal if I can. It means helping around the house and finding time to teach Izzy to read, to walk, and always showing her that she's loved.

 If we can all do a bit of that, then inside or out of the EU aside, we'll leave the world a wee bit better than we found it.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Drunk Spider

 It's nice to enjoy a bit of early summer sunshine, isn't it? We've had some good days recently, and being back in North Devon means we can enjoy it. Izzy has already been to the park, the paddle pool and the beach. We have to keep her in the shade a lot of the time, but it's still fun.

 On the subject of nice things, my friend Michelle Woollacott has just published her debut novel, All That You Want. It's a YA book, and a good one, with sympathetic characters and a twist I didn't see coming. It's well worth a read, and you can find it here

 As for me, I submitted the opening chapters of Isles of Immortality to the Yeovil Prize a week ago, just getting in before the deadline. But for now it's back to Starfire, and the continuing story of Linth as he struggles to understand why he survived the Spirit Wood. That means updating my notes and profiles for the story, which have had extra scribbles added as I wrote volume one and now look as though they were attacked my a drunk spider. There's a whole folder full of notes. It's taken four days already and I'm only halfway.

 Being an author isn't all glamour, y'know.

 All this comes from wanting to achieve consistency. If I say in chapter 3 that Linth's eyes are blue, they can't be green by chapter 6. I might hardly mention his eyes, or a host of other things, because I don't want to bury the reader in detail. But I have to know. I need to be clear on how he looks, how he sounds, what words he chooses and how he swears, how he stands and walks, what memories he treasures, and blah and blah. What's more, I need this for every character, of which there are many major ones in Starfire. There are lots of different cultures too and I need details on all of them, and on the deserts and mountain ranges, even sailing routes across the seas. There's a lot, and it all needs updating. Fun, isn't it?

 On Saturday I'll be attending the Saturday group at Barnstaple library for the first time in almost a year. I missed it while I was away in Yeovil and I'm really glad to be back. Some good writers attend and some good friends too. Here's to a warm and happy summer.