Sunday, December 16, 2012

Life as a House

16th December 2012
Nothing to do with writing, I just want to mention Sandy Hook Elementary and the atrocity that happened there on December 14th. I want to say, "Wake Up America! Look around you - other developed countries manage to incorporate freedom and the strictest gun control. You're being manipulated by a thoroughly dishonest body called the NRA, ad it needs to stop before one more innocent person is gunned down by a madman."  There, I said it. And I'm not sorry.
Now to things literary: When I first set out to write my oeuvre, I wanted to get five novels under my belt, so that if one sold, I would have an easy time of it following up with others. I didn't want to be under pressure to produce, because, as we all know, the muses need to fly free. So, sitting here waiting for the machinery to take me onto the next phase of the publishing process, my mind naturally travelled towards a sequel. I started one tentatively, and all kinds of things started to happen in the story that I hadn't anticipated. Often writing feels like walking into a screening room for an already completed film. I sat down and started to watch, and it was pretty interesting. So, I've written fifty pages, which is a sixth of a book, and I have no idea how it is going to unfold. But I do like the space to be still and listen to the story come.
There was an article on writing in The New York Times earlier this month called "The Art of Being Still," by Silas House. Can't he get a Pulitzer just for his name? It should be a new category:  Best Author's Name. What else could he have been but a writer with a name like that? He could have worked in construction and caused a few chuckles. But he is a writer, and what he was saying in the article was how writers creates their own stillness inside the most mundance tasks, that you can't actually wait until life conspires to give you uninterrupted time to write your great opus. You just have to find it, and if you have something to say you will.
So, excerpt four from the current novel, "Veil of Time." Chapter Four: Back in her own time, Maggie longs to get back to Dunadd AD 735. She hasn't yet met Fergus, but she has spent some time with the Sula the druidess.  She still thinks she's dreaming....
"Something in me it is that pulls me to fire.  I tug my raincoat on and climb to the fort in the wind today, stopping at the cleft of the rock where in my dream the gates stood. I remember them down to their heavy wooden smell and the knot in the wood above the sliding hatch.  And I notice on my way up this time, and wonder why I have never noticed before, several holes in the rock where the gate posts must once have been lodged. There’s a stain of rust leaking out from iron rods that must still exist somewhere deep in the rock. I gain the flat grassy area where the houses stood in my dream, but now instead of buildings, I am standing amongst rubble, half submerged in grass, looking like nothing at all. 
On the summit, I sit on the little ledge of stone left from the original seat in the witch’s hut. If I close my eyes, I can hear the snap of the fire, smell the drying herbs hanging from the rafters. Even now you can see why the ancient people picked Dunadd as a fort, for it looks straight across the Mhoine Mhor, a great stretch of peat moss leading down to the Atlantic.  Off to the south, through the dips of the foothills, you can see mountains; to the north and east great forests rise and fall, and along the valley floor the River Add wraps itself around the fort before snaking through The Moss, as though it really would prefer not to get to the sea at all. The sun is setting behind the islands, casting the world in an orange wash. From below, only the raucous call of the pheasant interrupts the stillness."

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