Good evening all, and Merry Christmas! 😀
That’s the important message to take away from this post! But if you want a status update, click here: Continue reading
I’m seeing more and more and more writers (they guest-post on Mr. Wendig’s blog at terribleminds.com, which I read) wondering how they can write “while the world burns”. And I’m glad they’re noticing, I really am, you have no idea.
But damn did it take you guys a long time and it being on your doorstep to notice.
I’m sure it’s nice to express your frustration and nice to feel like someone else feels that way and maybe get a bit of backslapping for your “oh god everything is shit” moment.
But too much of this and it’ll just be a circle-jerk. Nobody will do anything, they’ll all be too busy talking about how they have to do something.
If the world is burning then get a fire extinguisher.
If there’s genocide in Rwanda or torture in Russia then write a lot of politely worded very pointed letters to every diplomat you and Amnesty International can think of. (I was six. I was six and the world wasn’t as nice as it should have been, so I repeatedly told it to get better. It might even have helped.)
But waiting until there’s something less bad than genocide on your doorstep and then realising that maybe the world isn’t all sunshine and roses and then wanting to know how to go on alongside that?
You guys always were going on alongside it. You were (probably) there for the genocide. (I don’t know how old you are, but not being would make you pretty young.) But because you didn’t have a front row seat, it didn’t exist. You were there for the clusterfuck that was the invasion of Iraq. You were there for all the other atrocities that happened throughout my life, and that are still happening. People died every day, and still do, but the world wasn’t “burning” because you, personally, thought you were safe.
So I guess it just strikes me as a little self-centred. Which people are, and to an extent have to be, or we’d all forget to eat because we were doing more important things, and would starve. *Insert clip from Look Around You here.*
In fact, that’s about the right phrase. Look Around You. It’s always been this way.
It just wasn’t on your doorstep before.
So please, clear up your doorstep, and then whatever you do do not close your eyes and go back to thinking everything is okay. It’s not okay, it’s never been okay, things only get better if we work at it, if we stay aware of where the bad things are and then do something about them.
And yes, write books too. That’s important. Very important. Other minds and other viewpoints — if people don’t see those, the seeds are sown already.
Writers (of any stripe – book, film, comic, serial, you name it) share thoughts and ideas and strange new perspectives with the world. They make other people laugh and cry and think. Think things they never would have thought otherwise.
Now, as always, we need those ideas.
But don’t go complaining about how the world is worse and suddenly you can’t. It’s not worse, you just weren’t looking before. The rock is lifted. There’s a maggoty badger corpse down there, grinning at you with its half-decayed flesh hanging off the skull. But it was still there before, so… clear up the corpse, or write anyway, or clear it up and write anyway. (That’s what I do.)
Just don’t you dare claim it never existed before.
(But I am very, very glad that you’ve finally noticed it. Now pass me that shovel, because I think the tail’s fallen off.)
I’ve been working on Reclamation for some time, to say the least. Years, on and off; for a while, it was the book I didn’t want to write for fear I couldn’t do it justice. But for whatever reason, these past few months I’ve felt up to it.
Which is why I decided that I could aim to get it finished well before the end of the year.
And I can — that’s not really in doubt. I can write fast, and I can write well, and while I can’t always do both at the same time, I can certainly overlap them well enough. I’ve got months to go and very little else to do in them, since my chance of summer employment appears to have lost my records down the back of the sofa and refuses to respond to my emails. All is set very fair indeed.
But it’s still rather more scary the longer it goes on. For once I’ve actually promised something, with a certain specific date and deadline, something that I can let people down on. And I really don’t want to do that. But who knows if I will? The future isn’t certain, even when I pretend it is. And I have other responsibilities I’m determined to fulfill.
Still, nothing doing — it’s done, and whether or not it’s intimidating, I won’t back out now!
The exam period is just about over, and with it I am freed to go back to writing! (I’d have written an explanatory post, but I didn’t realise quite how busy I’d end up until it was already too late!) Which means… that I am now ready to promise you all a new book! Preorders are now open for Erithenia: Reclamation, the first in a new series that will bring us to the world of Thenia, a modern technological society built in part around a power — sharren — as fundamental to Thenians as gravity. Old tales of gods and monsters are a myth — until the day that a cruise liner runs aground, a seemingly reasonless event that heralds the return of the heroes and villains long since thought to be no more than fable.
Reclamation will be out on the 1st of December, but register your interest now to be sure you get it as soon as it’s released!
And in other writing news… there’s about to be a big sale at Smashwords, and for the whole month of July, the ebook of Before the Sun Fades will be absolutely free! So why not pick it up?
I wanted to explain what it feels like to me when I go caving. This was my best shot: (actually finished 13/12/2016)
The path ahead is cloaked in shadow
Total stillness of the air;
If I speak, my words will echo.
To venture onwards still I dare.
The rock is worn of every edge,
And coming close above my head:
Rushing water carved this path,
But long ago that water fled.
Sinking deep inside the earth
Along the paths I follow now;
Somewhere still that river runs
Its lightless course beneath the ground.
This edge was once a waterfall
Now down its empty side I climb
Wire ladder anchored into rock –
Other hands were here before mine.
Yet in my mind I’m first to walk
Along these silent hidden roads
Though other people stand beside me,
In my head I’m still alone.
Far away from sun and wind,
Beyond the easy reach of man
In these all but untouched wilds
A lone adventurer I can stand.
The rock is not my enemy,
Its cool dark shapes a kind of friend;
Its challenge something deep within me
As I explore to journey’s end.
And round each corner marvels wait
Sometimes subtle or unseen
Sometimes obvious and plain:
Rock veils in hanging filigree.
A sinkhole like an inverse tower,
Water falling from above,
Daylight shining brightly down –
Places like this, too, I love.
Climb down towards the pool below
One last look, then back again,
Upwards to the light above;
Below, this untouched world remains.
The water’s risen in the caves,
Yet still I feel no fear at all.
Retrace my route: I know the way.
In my skills I feel secure.
I test each step on hidden ground,
Or climbing up a steep incline,
As careful on the journey out
As I was when I stepped inside.
I have mastered this dark world;
I have seen the great unknown
And when, in time, I might return,
‘Twill be a new quest all its own.
For now I breathe the open air
And see the sky so high above.
Out to horizons vast I stare
And can’t say what I’m dreaming of.
My journey done, my quest complete,
Adventures new another day.
New memories now mine to keep
Wherever next my path may stray.
(*Post backdated to the date I actually wrote the poem. Post posted on 19/04/2017.)
Riding back on a bus from work, I saw this amazing cloud covering the sun and looking for all the world like a plume of smoke streaming from something coming down fast through the atmosphere. Well, apparently I just can’t let something so glorious go unremarked, so I got out my phone, took some photographs, and set my thoughts to, if not exactly paper, then certainly pixel.
Like a plume of smoke, the cloud wisps
Up from the sinking sun
Like a spaceship sinking, burning:
A battle lost or a battle won.
Blazing down through the atmosphere,
Reentry or retreat
Fusion reactor meltdown
An alien or human defeat?
Or maybe just a chance disaster:
Malfunctions are nothing new,
The captain giving orders
As she fights to save her crew.
The sun is slowly setting
And the cloud drifts further away –
Will the crash site be forgotten?
Did the engineers save the day?
The sky has cleared, the cloud is gone
Whether for good or ill
End the story how you want
And imagine what you will.
This might look awfully fast, but it has been a few months since I wrote the first one. I just didn’t post it for quite some time!
Serene in space, the gossamer relic hangs about the star at its heart, draped like a crystal cobweb. Who built it, what it even really is, no-one knows. Its interior is all but fractal, here graceful and soaring, there blocky and compact. Gravity changes smoothly or sharply, so that people might be seen walking at all angles. And though the relic has never been fully mapped, it is full of people — for explorers come from all over the galaxy to seek out its secrets.