Thursday November 26th – Day 22
A day off… well, nearly. So, what does a writer do on his day off? Answer: stay in bed a little later, get up and go for a walk, have breakfast and then enjoy attending to tasks that warrant very little cerebral exercise: fix this, fix that, wash up, get some logs in, raid the supermarket… and offer to cook dinner; all the kind of stuff Carol has had to attend to while I’ve been selfishly committed to my novella – not to mention falling asleep in front of the plethora of cooking programmes, only to come to every now and then and make an amusing observation I probably would have been better keeping to myself. Tonight, if all goes to plan, Rognons a La Crème: kidneys in cream and brandy with button mushrooms; and I know I’m going to regret dozing off in the middle of Masterchef. Please don’t ask about the desert. Oh, all right, salted caramel ice cream coated in chocolate, aka a Magnum. Disappointing, isn’t it?
I managed to stay away from the keyboard until around three o’clock, which was easier than anticipated. Inevitably though, there were a number of issues that required my attention before getting back in the saddle tomorrow morning. First, type up the notes from the pile of papers I’ve been scribbling on these past three weeks, some of which made sense and others which needed deciphering. Second, type up a timeline and debate moving chapters around to see if I was going to assemble them in chronological order, my preferred option, or rearrange them to up the dramatic quotient. Notable movies that have altered timelines include, Sliding Doors, It’s A Wonderful Life, Back To The Future and Jumanji, which I really like, mostly because I’m a fan of Robin Williams and I’m drawn to the premise of an adult mired in childhood. The best, in my opinion, is Groundhog Day, though that’s better defined as a medley of Deja Vus. I mean, who wouldn’t want the opportunity to return to some of one’s life events and mould them to a more satisfactory conclusion? I know I have a locker full. When it comes to novels, I prefer my stories ordered and not disordered. In The Wind Between Two Worlds, I employed the flash-forward method to illustrate one of the central character’s history, both as a means of explaining why she behaved and reacted to certain circumstances, and to keep the reader guessing as to whether she made it through to the end of the story – no spoiler alert. And in Boarding House Reach, I used flashbacks to similar ends, but also to build the characters' back story so the reader would develop a closely personal association.
On the wall in our downstairs cloakroom, a wall papered with old greeting cards, there is one in particular that makes me chuckle every time I read it. Above a painting of several tomatoes, the lines read ‘Sometimes I’ll think about something you said, and I’ll laugh, and then the people choosing tomatoes at the grocery store will wonder what’s so funny about that tomato’. This morning, in the supermarket, I walked past a guy with a Terry Thomas moustache and buck teeth, and remembered the scene from It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World, where Thomas is driving a Cadillac in the back of which Ethel Merman is sitting bending his ear. He turns to the camera, bridles and mutters, “Ghastly woman!” Every time I watch the scene, it makes me laugh and this morning, standing in the vegetable aisle, I couldn’t keep from doing the same. I really shouldn’t be allowed out when I’m in the middle of a novel.
Ciao, Until tomorrow.