Words, Words, Words

Yesterday was not a good day, word-wise; I produced 500 words in all and then the wheels began to spin in the mire of my mind. But! I identified the problem, and now the ground under me is firm again and I’m off and running. The problem was simply this – the end was approaching. Why should this be an issue? To answer this we need to delve deep into the human psyche and examine our fear of success.

It is odd that anyone should be afraid of success, yet there are numerous examples of it in the biographies of the famous and the anecdotes of the yet-to-be famous (sublebrities don’t seem to suffer so much from this, but then you could argue that they’ve already achieved fame without actually doing very much to earn it.) Stephen Fry has commented that in any writer the desire to be seen contends with the desire to hide (at least I’m pretty sure he said it though I can’t find the quote, but even if he didn’t it’s a good thing to say) and whether or not it applies to other writers it certainly applies to me. Sometimes I wonder which scares me more, failure or success. Perhaps in all of us there’s a little voice which says ah, but if you get that thing you’ll have to give up this thing. You worry about relationships breaking down or your children not wanting to see you or losing all your friends when you become successful. At least that’s what I worry about, I don’t know about you.

Then again sometimes in the early hours I worry about Something Awful happening, like losing my knickers on live TV or being filmed picking my nose or saying something unforgivably crass or simply sitting dumbfounded in a studio because I can’t think of a thing to say. Any of these things could and almost certainly would be picked up and shared on social media and as a result would never be forgotten. Jokes about noses would pursue me until I died, and possibly after.

All this is of course ludicrously exaggerated, but it’s in the nature of fears to be so, particularly fears that come to you in the early hours. So I think it’s these fears that can hold you back when you’re on the verge of completing something, the tiny voices that whisper, What now? What does this mean? Where is it all taking me? Sometimes it’s more comfortable just to sit back and not bother finishing.

Oh well I guess I’m done here…

41,000 words so far, aiming for 42k today.

Kirk out

How are you spelling that today?

I was once asked by someone on the phone as I gave my name, ‘And how are you spelling that?’  I found the use of the present continuous amusing; as though I might have a current preference and change the spelling of my name on a daily basis.  And this got me to thinking about spelling changes and how different spellings go in and out of fashion: for example, ‘hullo’ looks very old-fashioned now; and I’m not sure if there is a slight difference between ‘hallo’ and ‘hello.’  I think the latter might be more polite, and the former more ebullient.  What do you think?

Sadness: a rejection email yesterday from a flash-fiction website: apparently my story had ‘not enough narrative’.  *Sigh!*  And there was me thinking I was being enigmatic and clever.

I’m re-reading ‘Sense of an Ending’ to see if I can end up making more sense of it (LOL).  I like – and dislike – the ‘novel-as-history’ trope (if ‘trope’ is the word I want): it’s interesting and clever but also alienating – and I’m a bit tired of alienation: I’ve been floating in that cold sea a long time and I’d quite like a rock to cling to for a bit.  But I daresay that’s because I’m weak and unreconstructed.  Or something.  Basically, it seems to me that there are two choices in life (and both of them tragic) – you can fit in or you can choose to follow your own voice.  Unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to fit in just as you are.  So that’s what I’m wrestling with at the moment.  Then again, I think there’s a fear of success which afflicts a lot of people: I’ve noticed this while teaching yoga (not in my current students, I hasten to add) – that often people want palliatives: they don’t want the challenge of actually tackling their problems and solving them.  So that is what I shall mostly…

be doing today.  Wrestling, that is.

Kirk out