Monday November 23rd – Day 19
First off, I need to make clear that yesterday’s aphorism was in no way intended as a criticism of Stephen King; it was simply a quasi-amusing, if not ironic, anecdote about how writers can sometimes feel about their chosen path. How could one who has produced a meagre six works have the temerity or arrogance to criticise an author of King’s output and quality? Misery, a story about a writer held hostage by one of his fans, is one of my favourite novels and as for The Shawshank Redemption! “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” Writing just doesn’t get much better than that. King is a master of his craft and I salute him.
I’m running a little dry this evening and that’s no surprise. I was up early-early, keen to get to the desk; the reason being that I should complete the first draft sometime tomorrow. Words ran onto the page, took root and quickly began to bear fruit. Getting to the end of the first draft is a rewarding experience, as long as you manage to keep the harpies of doubt at bay. The temptation is to see inaccuracies that don’t exist and go back and embroil oneself in eradicating them. That’s hard to resist, but in the last few scenes you very naturally have to pick up the tempo; surrendering to voices of doubt is not at this stage helpful. Head down, breathe deep and don’t hesitate. Keep running right through the finish line before you even begin to consider letting up.
Dawn this morning was spectacular. The sun painted layers of altocumulus every shade of red from carmine through vermilion; a rime hung low over the Meads; and the world was suspended in gentle repose. I have been fortunate enough to witness some awe-inspiring sunrises, the most memorable of them in the middle of the North Atlantic when sailing a ketch from Spain to the West Indies. The world wakes slowly, the sun creeping above the eastern horizon to leave what appears to be a portal to a wholly separate universe. To witness this alone and in silence is a humbling and enriching experience. In the 1950 film The Glass Menagerie, an adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play, Tom Wingfield (Arthur Kennedy) stands watch on a merchantman and looks back on his life with his delusional mother and disabled sister in their down-at-heel St Louis apartment. Sounds depressing, I know, but the ending in the movie is alternative to that of the play; it’s uplifting. I like the film, some critics less so. However, standing watch in the early hours gifts one the opportunity to reflect without judgement, and sunrises provide the perfect platform for mellow self-examination. The middle of the North Atlantic may be a journey too far for many, so why not take a walk down by the Meads, the peace is empowering.
Ciao. Until tomorrow.