Tag Archives: grumpiness

Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

14 Dec


I know exactly how poor Odysseus is feeling. He yearns to arrive home safely with his crew intact. What does he encounter ? A bunch of Sirens trying to seduce him onto the rocks ! His men have tied him to the mast permitting him to hear their hypnotic song but preventing him from succumbing to its lethal effect. They are immune because their ears are stuffed full of beeswax. What have  got in common with Odysseus  ? Like him I easily succumb to DISTRACTION, the eighth deadly sin. He wanted to hear the song of the Sirens and experience its death inducing quality yet survive. An unnecessary risk, I might add. Naughty thrill seeker Odysseus. And this is subsequent to spending a great deal of time canoodling with Circe and being subject to her magical ways on her island. Yes, he’s a first class loiterer and thoroughly unfocussed traveller. I, like him, need to bring some discipline into my (writing) activities. Tempus fugit ! How easy it is to fritter away precious time. A few days ago I was in the mood for murder and egregious revenge. I had a couple of hours to plot a storyline and start writing a chapter. Instead, I gave great attention to building a nest around me. I surrounded myself with books, cut out articles, notes, food coffee, pens, laptop and iPad. I was nicely set up to browse all the very interesting things in front of me and enjoy the stimulating ideas contained within. As a consequence I did no plotting and no writing but vowed (good tabloid word) to be more resolute next time. I have played out this scenario on many occasions. The only time I did become more consistently committed to writing was in the period following my heart attack four years ago. I don’t recommend this eventuality as a viable aid to focus and concentration, of course, but every cloud has a silver lining. This blog is a distraction as is my dog, all my books and magazines, gardening,running, cooking and cleaning. I must pull my finger out. The majority of people who write also have a myriad other commitments and still find a way of fitting writing in. But, golly gosh, its difficult.

http://www.thecreativepenn.com This is the website of Joanna Penn, writer,public speaker.entrepreneur and advocate of self publishing. She has about 170 podcasts on iTunes and has conducted many interviews with successful ebook authors. She’s authorative, knowledgeable and shares her experiences of writing, marketing and publishing as they happen. Very easy to listen to, I find them inspirational and entertaining on a number of levels. Joanna recently interviewed Kerry Wilkinson, a very successful British writer and this contrasted strikingly with her more frequent American interviewees. The Americans tend to be very polite, humorous, socially at ease, articulate and receptive. Kerry was some of these things but not to any great extent. When Joanna started the interview and greeted him the response was abrupt and  barely comprehensible. But I did warm to him because he was straight forward and didn’t speak in generalities. Success appeared to come relatively easily, he wrote prolifically and he was very self disciplined. His manner was low key and very matter of fact.There was no showiness. I’ll probably listen to it again. Another bloody distraction. Thank you Joanna !! I’m going for a run now.


Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

11 Dec

Today I thought I would allocate myself about 90 minutes to write or think about plot. It turned out to be 35 minutes in Starbucks ; slightly disappointing but moderately productive. How exciting to consider murder and sip an Americano in reasonably comfortable surroundings and in public. Two women were sitting directly behind me and one commented “There’s none of us perfect in this life but we do have to put God first.” Unfortunately, due to my poor hearing, I was unable to catch the rest of the conversation. How was I able to hear this snippet ? I was tempted to ask them to speak up.

Last night we went to hear Ian Rankin, crime novelist and creator of the Rebus series based in Edinburgh. He was interviewed in a beautiful church in central Cambridge. I have heard him speak on radio several times previously and he’s been interesting and entertaining. Part of the problem with yesterday’s performance was that the interviewer was not properly prepared or experienced and Rankin himself seemed to lose interest after 50 minutes. He made it clear that he would only spend a few minutes answering questions and the proceedings had an abrupt ending when the bookshop host person came on stage and  gave thanks for what we had just experienced. I felt sorry for the interviewer who was unable to sum up and formerly conclude the interview. The impression given was that Rankin was simply going through the motions of promoting his new book at the behest of his publisher and, in this instance, had decided enough was enough. I considered him rude. I had brought a book to sign but decided against it. Possibly he lost the will to respond appropriately when he was asked why he had chosen John as the first name of his protagonist Rebus.

Five Supreme Court Judges ruled, today, that a Church of Scientology chapel in central London was a “place of meeting for religious worship.” This means a couple who launched a legal action after officials refused to register the chapel as a place for marriage, can now be married there. The couple, interviewed on TV, seemed to be sensible and “normal”. I’ve tried very hard to think about Scientology in an even handed manner but it’s not possible. The founder, science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard decided to regard his imagined fiction as life enhancing truth and spiritual fact. Shocking and entertaining for most people, a matter of faith for the credulous. The clue should be in the financial aspects of these cults. It’s always a good indication when truths are revealed progressively the more you pay.


Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

18 Nov

I’m lucky to be living in Cambridge, UK. We are less than 5 miles from the centre and the University, which is an embedded and integral feature of this small City. Moving here 14 years ago, we love walking in and about Cambridge and visiting the Colleges and their grounds. If I’m feeling very fit or in training for a long race, I can run along the River Cam which goes through Cambridge. It’s got a great library, 2 large multi floor bookshops, several excellent second hand bookshops, beautiful architecture, a  number of first class museums river punts, good independent shops, two theatres and zillions of concerts, talks and performances regularly taking place. The Market Square has a very good second hand book stall. In short, Cambridge offers a wealth of cultural and cerebral delights to an appreciative demographic as well as an elite education for those with brains, money and the right class. In the distant past, hostility and resentment between Town and Gown, (ordinary town residents and working people and students and their wealthy Colleges), led to fights, occasional riots and sometimes, deaths. This is no longer the case (I think) but the old enmities live on, albeit in a weakened form. I live in a village and I walk my dog with other dog walking chums. If I announce on any particular day that I’m going into Cambridge later, their response is invariably “Poor you.” It’s now become a conditioned response and I’m disappointed if they don’t respond negatively. Why don’t they like it ? Traffic is awful and it’s full of tourists and congestion. They would only venture in to do some shopping but only if it can’t be avoided. Not everyone but most of them have no interest in what Cambridge has got to offer including the architecture and the river walksw

http://www.cambridgewordfest.co.uk/ is a literary festival in November and a smaller one in the Spring. Heffers is a large bookshop which hosts literary events. See http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/org/4414026401. I’ll be seeing retired Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Raymond Tallis talk about faith and science and crime writer Ian Rankin interviewed by Alison Bruce. Poor me !

I think I’ve got a crime novel in me. I’m currently sketching out the story line and characters. It’s slow work. Must get more focussed, more motivated and definitely more  disciplined. I’ve been giving myself this message for decades. Note to self : please take notice of important internal memoranda addressed to self.

Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

15 Nov

We went to see Donna Tartt at the Cambridge Union debating hall a couple of days ago.Apart from some TV and radio dates she is only appearing at 6 venues in the UK. I read The Secret History 20 years ago and enjoyed it. I didn’t read or buy The Little Friend but I have bought The Goldfinch which is now adorned with Ms Tartt’s siignature. Thank you, Ms Tartt. She was warm, friendly and responsive which was in contrast to her stark, austere Gothic appearance. She talked  sense, discussed her writing habits, took questions gracefully, volunteered no information about her personal life and didn’t appear to have wacky ideas. I’d be very surprised if she was a Scientologist. Her couple of minders, who ensured the long queue of people waiting for  her signature moved along smoothly, also stopped quasi criminal types who had the audacity to bring along crumpled copies of The Secret History (in paperback} for signing at the same time. They were told they might be obliged after the new book signings were finished and if she had enough ink left in her pen.

Ms Tartt began 25 minutes late, thanks to the Cambridge traffic apparently. We were not allowed into the debating chamber and had to wait along narrow corridors. Since we are Brits we didn’t complain, of course. An interesting variation came when the woman in front of us asked a flustered staff member about the need to keep us standing. He replied that it was difficult for him as well.She then felt obliged to make an apology to him.

Her audience comprised a varied cross section of ages from seventies to students. No-one dressed up much, It was a typical Cambridge crowd.

Oscar Diamond rough cut geezer

10 Nov

With this blog, with the words and ideas contained, I intend to make radical changes. I vow to use all the clichés and tabloid phrases at my disposal to describe an intrinsic shift in my outlook and disposition. I’m fed up with procrastination, willingness to be distracted and endless fantasising about ideas which are never pursued. I’m sixty-one years old! Still young, very young compared to a centurion but indisputably chronologically older than nineteen. I am, however, emotionally stuck in my late teens and early twenties and glad of it! But I’ve always put thing off, let things ride,taken the line of least resistance and put effort into avoiding any stressful changes or stepping outside of my comfort zone. Well, lessons have been learned. At the end of the day I’ve got to change my mindset or I’ll be in bits. Lets be clear about this, I’m damaged goods but there’s still fuel in the tank, still lead in my pencil (figuratively, of course, because I’m using a computer).

What do I want to say? What ideas do I want to explore that will lead to new ways of thinking and feeling? Which then lead to consistently working towards a goal.

I want to write a book. Good news! I have written a book. Well done me. But wait. Despite reading and thinking a great deal about writing, revising and not sending it off to agents and publishers until  it was fully polished  and avoided all the obvious pitfalls a budding writer falls into, I did just that. I received numerous rejection slips and one comment stating I was at the beginning of the creative process. That particularly grated. For a short while I mused about plotting a crime story concerning a serial killer whose victims were literary agents choked to death by rejected submissions. The ones who only accepted emails would have to be dispatched in other ways. But, of course I didn’t pursue it.

I’d like to start a small  internet based  business selling self designed T-shirts. Again I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about this and the steps I would need to take but……………at this point I lost interest in myself and decided to start another blog aliveandrunning2013.wordpress.com