There’s that standing joke about the writer sitting staring out the window ‘working’. Trying to figure out how I’m going to work the ‘all over the place’ timeline of the present book I did a lot of something similar this morning. Mainly it involved staring at a long list of single sentence descriptions of scenes, then lying on the sofa with my eyes closed trying to see the shape they must form. I had the whole lot whirling round in my head till they seemed to gain weight, then turned into a headache. I did a lot of brainwork this morning, and wrote only about 20 words.
Par for the course. I go out for a kayak run and it seems I’m paddling against the wind on the way out and the way back. A quarter hour after I get back and the wind just stops. Hard not to think it’s personal sometimes.
2,000 words this morning and another ‘piece’ written. I’m coming to the conclusion that resolving the timeline issues is not going to happen quickly. My subconscious needs time to mull it all over.
Gawd I’m knackered. I walked to Voila this morning, wrote 2,000 words, then down here in Makri attempted a kayak to Koutsouras but turned back at two thirds the distance because the waves looked like they might splatter me. But it is a satisfying knackerdom.
I commented to a neighbour a couple of days ago that, had I got a gun, I don’t know who I would shoot first, the owner or the dog. Howling yapping dogs in the village. Idiots with a dog they never disciplined because it is ‘their baby’ and when it was a puppy and started barking they went, ‘ooh, isn’t that cute’. Wankers. Of course it is no different in the UK, just that there we tend to have our windows closed for a larger part of the year.
Ah, the kind tourists feeding the cats. Two months later one cat is four cats. Yet strangely this place is not overrun with them for they disappear each Winter. I guess they’re transported off to the cat planet of scratching posts and endless tuna.
Bugger. I didn’t know direct debits at my bank get cancelled if they’re not used for 13 months. Lots of messing about on the internet and over the phone required to re-establish currency transfer. I’m sure Yorgos and Kostis at Revans won’t mind if I run up a tab.
Blustery day today. After being beaten about on a massage table I decided to swim rather than kayak. I didn’t like it yesterday, when it wasn’t so windy, getting skidded sideways across the ocean then having to beach the kayak because it was going backwards. Such trials I face.
Perfect. 12K walk in the mountains, 2,000 words written and some major positive rearranging of the book, a 10K kayak on a lovely sea (with less wind than expected) and now a nice cool beer. Why would I want to add anything more? (he said, while eyeing some of the bikini-clad items on the beach).
And actual research done today. Well, I looked up ‘strangler fig’ on the internet to see if the things looked like I remembered. Yes they do and, of course, my version is mobile and hostile.
The erstwhile (yes, I know I like that word) short story has now cleared 60,000 words. Interesting way to write something – not straight-line development of the plot but putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Though I have to carve the pieces, and the holes they fit, and there are no edges, and no box picture, and. . .
Annoying. I can’t find red beans for chilli here (admittedly I haven’t looked very hard), so I’m trying gigantes. These are the big beans used in a dish here that goes very well with feta. They also have a marked effect on the colon – often a quite loud effect.
And another 2,000 words done today. I’ll probably be two books in hand by the time it comes to discuss a further contract with Macmillan. Meanwhile I just received a contract from Analog for ‘Moral Biology’. Only drawback here is I’m not producing all those short stories I intended to write.
Okay. I’m a bit pooped today. I kayaked to a beach called Stousa. This is the furthest I’ve been. Upwards of 15K round trip. I must check it on Google Earth.
2,000 words done on a Saturday morning, which makes up for a day missed in the week. I’ll may do another 2,000 tomorrow since I might avoid Makrigialos and its crowds. That being said, there are surprisingly few down here today. Perhaps an initial holiday rush is dying off?
The view has changed since four years ago. I think a TV aerial fell over.
4 years ago
10 August 2015 ·
Yesterday it was cloudy and dull, and I’d also thought I’d returned to a more sordid area of Essex (y’know, where it’s necessary to keep a baseball bat handy). But this morning I look out and Crete is still there. Kalimera!
Like the name ‘Q-carbon’ and its properties. Definite grist for the writing mill.
Good grief Messenger collects a lot of crap over the years. I really wish it wouldn’t send that ‘Say hi to your new Facebook friend’. If I had wanted to I would have done so!
2,000 words on a Sunday. I had to close the terrace door to cut down on the sound of the yapping, whining and howling dog at the bottom of the village. I went down to knock on the owners’ door to complain but they were out. The dog of course was on a leash in their yard. While there I saw another dog on a leash over the other side. It’s yap wasn’t up to much because it had grown old, but I recognised it as the constant yapper from years ago. Some people should have a ‘No Dogs’ warning tattooed on their foreheads.
It’s noticeable with some expats here that they become more of what they were back home. Accents broaden, national and local traits are emphasised. It almost seems like a defensive measure. Whatever. In the spirit of all that, and having run out of washing powder, I had to buy this:
Interesting conversation this morning. A French couple with a smattering of Greek, a Greek woman who speaks English and me with my sub par Greek. Lots of hand waving. Amazing what can be conveyed with gestures.
First time I’ve seen these covers.
Okay. Apparently today’s run was over 4 hours of kayaking. I went the furthest I’ve ever been to a beach called Stousa where I took a brief break. And I have to admit to not writing a damned thing today.
The Gabbiano was busy last night with 50 or more people in it. It’s been busy for a while as I could tell the other day by Stelios’s yawns. I refuelled on piethachia meh scortho (garlic lamb chops) and Gabbiano salata then popped down to Revans. Full there too with people watching football. Not my thing so I buggered off home.
And another 2,000 words this morning. The book is zooming along nicely now and I’ve got most of the timeline issues sorted. Meanwhile in the village it seems the howling whining dog has been moved somewhere so it’s not so intrusive and has resorted to yapping, so no visit to the Sitia Police today as intended. Now I’m trying to decide whether or not another 4-hour kayak run this week will be too much.
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Chilling in Revans. The moon and lights on the Libyan Sea in one direction. Football in the other. Life is full of contrasts.
It gets boring me writing ‘and another 2,000 words this morning,’ though I assure you the words are not. Humans adopt an alien form of communication while repelling lethal predators from a giant armoured car … okay that’s enough. Anyway, I kayaked for over three … zzzzzzz …
Oh, and I’m past 70,000 words on this book. That’s a halfway marker (kinda). I wonder now about my chances of getting three books ahead of the publisher again over the next year. Pretty good I reckon.
Just too warm and nice to stay in. Feeding myself up at the Stratos tonight since my total food consumption today has been a small bowl of peanuts and similar of crisps. Heat is a good diet aid. I could probably have gone to bed on that.
Anyway. 2,000 words done this morning and now I’m off on my kayak. . .
Hmm, big bottle of water drunk because of ouzo-related dehydration. Twinge in my stomach muscles while kayaking. I think a zero alcohol evening of relaxation is called for, and maybe I should cool it on the 15K kayak runs.
I may change my mind.
A day’s rest and the stomach muscle twinge has gone away. I ate pretty hugely too with three boiled eggs for breakfast with friganes, then pork steaks later in a kind of ratatouille (with chilli added of course) and with that, for the first time, I cooked vlita. Without the usual Greek load of lemon juice and olive oil it tastes like spinach – definitely something I’ll grow again. The saucepans that came off my stove contained enough for a meal each for three people. I ate the lot throughout the afternoon and evening. Kayak today of course, and on both days 2,000 words a day as usual.
Morose speculations about past and present decisions have led to a third beer. The auspices are not good for sobriety of any kind as this day progresses.
I think I need to walk in the mountains. I’m a total cynic about anything supernatural or edging into the realm of pseudoscience, so the expression of a neighbour of ‘taking power from the mountains’ I regard with tongue in cheek. However, it does feel like that. A good long stomp through them and, though I may come back knackered, my head feels like it’s back on straight.
Okay. That’s enough. Time to lie on the sofa and stare at my eyelids. All is negotiable after that.
80,000 words cleared this morning. I’m rather enjoying this ‘start from the present and explore the past’. It’s really filling out the main character.
Quiet and peaceful down here this morning. The coffee and water crowds have yet to arrive. I’ve just had a nice fried breakfast at Revans and will shortly head off to have my bones thumped by a masseur. It’s such a struggle here.
Bone thumping completed. I probably should rest now but, looking at the calm sea, 15K on the kayak is looking increasingly likely.
No words written this morning. I instead sliced off the lower rotten part of a friend’s door and replaced it with new. Very satisfying, though I looked like I walked through a working saw mill.
I put this up two years ago and am not really sure of the sentiment of the meme. The only kind of writing that would scare me a little would be attempting to write an aga saga or something for Mills and Boon.
2 years ago
22 August 2017 ·
Righto, 2,000 words done and the story advances apace. I’m now hitting a stage when I need to up the stakes, skew the narrative and throw a big oily spanner in …
Annoying. I will probably have to go back to the UK earlier than expected and thus miss the raki season here. I guess my body will thank me for not eating barbecued pork and drinking raki all day. Meh.
Okay. Long chat with someone and afterwards I can’t be bothered with food preparations even though they are only ‘throw it in the microwave’. So the Gabbiano it is. Lamb chops with garlic and their salad. Mmmmm. The busiest restaurant in Makrigialos Stelios tells me.
A little bit of water in a small water bottle to wash down my food. And if you believe that. . .
A shy and reserved waitress at the Gabbiano, aren’t you Eirini?
The Gabbiano guys: Stelios, Yorgos and Marco.
Further Gabbiano staff in Alexandra and Manos:
Trying to figure out if ‘kala na patho’ is correct for ‘I get/got what I deserve’. I didn’t feel very well this morning and I don’t feel so great now. Wine followed by raki. . . Still, I did my 2,000 words and shortly will sweat out the hangover dregs on the kayak.
Heh. Always worth sharing again.
4 years ago
24 August 2015 ·
Right, I’ve spent quite enough time twiddling my thumbs, or wrapped up in some silliness that occurred in this village recently, or feeling tired and depressed….
Ah. Good morning. I collapsed on the sofa yesterday evening at 8, woke at 9 and went to bed shortly afterwards. I woke at about 4 with the book playing in my mind. I was in that half-conscious state where thoughts are ranging into the territory of dream, had some excellent ideas that push the book to further weirdness and made some good plot connections. These remained with me for the morning writing session during which I was still a bit spaced out mentally, even after a further snooze on the sofa. Obviously my subconscious had been mulling things over.
Ti thalassa einai yali (the sea is glass). Like a millpond this evening. I hope it remains that way tomorrow.
Ah, a tranquil scene from four years ago when I was about as stable mentally as a fairground ride with all the nuts and bolts taken out.
4 years ago
27 August 2015 ·
I was going to walk to Voila this morning, but since I didn’t crawl out of bed till gone 7 and still feel sleepy I’m giving that a miss. It’s going to be a hot one today.
Past 90,000 words now on the book. It’s getting complicated in there and decidedly weird. Not quite sure what to do with one strange character and his obsession with the mobile strangler fig tree that tried to eat him. I’ll think of something. Be nice to have this to first draft before I return to the UK in October.
Well that was good: 3.5 hours out on the kayak, ocean rolling like slow blued-iron-coloured beasts, sun diamond-glinting on the ripples. I saw quite a large fish jump out of the water and this year I’ve noticed more fish-eating birds. A couple of herons silhouetted against the ocean glare like forged iron sculptures. Yup, rising up out of the muscle pain and exhaustion and flooded with endorphins I had some of those ‘moments of beauty’ Ambassador Kosh mentioned.
Okay, it must be the excessive exercise followed by soporific beers. Crashed again yesterday evening and then slept through the night. A total of 10 to 11 hours. This does occasionally have me scratching my head and thinking I must sort myself out. But, just so long as I write those words, everything else is negotiable. Also, I spent about four years of being grateful to have slept more than four hours a night, so the big sleeps are enjoyable!
Well, that 10+ hours of sleep was obviously needed. Energy reserves increased, kayaking without those ‘pauses to look at the view’, and no longer feeling like I’ve been run over by a steamroller.
I knew I was in the region of my. 2,000 words this morning. Checked the word count: 95,000 precisely. That’ll do.
Amazing really. Sea the temperature of bathwater, temperature in the 30s and not a cloud in the blue in blue sky, lovely sandy beaches, freezing cold beer, restaurants serving excellent food at ‘it isn’t worth cooking’ prices and bugger-all people here. No, not amazing, just nuts.
I popped round my neighbour Jean-Pierre’s house yesterday where I met his friend . . . Jean-Pierre. Both Belgians. The second JP identified himself as an SF addict, immediately grabbing my attention by mentioning A E Van Vogt. Thereafter as wine and mezes were consumed, I kept throwing old names at him – Clifford D Simak, James Blish, A C Clarke, Poul Anderson – to which his response was frequently a wide smile and a, ‘Yes!’ Detente achieved and fuck the EU.
I think the kayak run I usually do in 2 hours took about 2.5 today. I could blame it on fighting against the wind out there, but in reality it was an ouzo penalty. I blame your karavachis Dolores.