Wednesday, 15 January 2014

First few days away from home…

Dear all,

This is my first blog entry from Spain and I’m currently sitting in my apartment with a strong coffee (more of that later) trying to work out the best way of approaching this.
First and foremost this blog is about writing, I set it up with the intention of discussing my thoughts on it as my hobby whilst entering the self-publishing world. In the two years since, things have changed and developed and I now see it as more than a hobby, but not as a job or career either, more, a way of life I choose to participate in, regardless of money, status and the consequences to what I considered my life would be previously.
Secondly, as much as I didn’t want this to be too much of a ‘personal’ blog, it has proved quite hard not to mention things that have affected me day-to-day and to discuss the impact that has had on my writing. So, I’m not going to hold back as much as I used to when bringing up subjects that are personal to me. I don’t know what that really means until I start blogging more, but it’s a relief already not to feel so constrained in my mind.
All that was just to say I will be blogging much more regularly and I have no idea where it will take me, I have a whole list of subjects I never got around to examining before and a whole new bunch of subjects now that I am in Spain, so I hope you will still enjoy this as a writing blog, with a bit of me thrown in.


So I arrived in Majorca Wednesday afternoon (8th Jan)) for the start of my three-month opening leg in Spain, and the first night was tough. It was so much harder than I imagined saying goodbye to my mum, my little nieces, other family and friends. I had planned this for over a month, and knew I was going away in general nearly three months ago, but still, I found myself getting teary-eyed. It is only for a year, so I am not emigrating or anything drastic like that (I have friends who have moved to Australia, and I know several people who moved from their home countries to live in London, so I can only fancy how difficult a permanent move must have been emotionally) but nevertheless the first night away was pretty sad. However, the excitement of what lay ahead was still there, and every time I feel low, I will just re-focus and remind myself that this could well be the only opportunity I ever have to concentrate on writing alone, with no other responsibilities and as such every single minute is important and irreplaceable. At such times I tend to put the kettle on.
            So, on to important things…coffee. I want to say thanks to my friend Paul for lending me his coffee maker and to my friend James for buying me two bags of bloody strong ground coffee to take with me, they have proved invaluable already. The amount fits perfectly into the cup I have in the flat, which of course means that this entire year was meant to be.

One ‘dose’ and my eyes widen and my fingers are somehow magnetically drawn to the keyboard. Of course, I am a coffee drinker already, this isn’t something new, whether it be at my local Costa or spooning it in by the ladle at home, but there is something different about being isolated, no noise around, no coffee shop customers talking about this-and-that in the background, no television or radio…the feeling is quite dramatic (Stephen King’s cocaine habit in his, ‘On Writing’ doesn’t seem so out-there now, although this isn’t a shout out to any Iberian dealers…) so I am going to keep a close eye on the amount I get through, I don’t want any heart murmurs or to be too shaky to type.

I brought with me the remainder of my notes. I went through most of them around three years ago (scraps of ideas some of which I have kept since I was at primary school believe it or not) which is how I got 'The Silent Spaces' out of my system, but even though I have many ideas for short stories ready to go, some with just a few paragraphs or sketchy outlines, some with several thousand words written, I felt that I wanted everything to be up to date. So, before I get cracking onto an actual story I am going to read through everything and do one final audit. Anything I like I’ll write up onto my laptop and by the end of the weekend I want all those papers/books in the bin. I hope there is some good stuff in there…

Being alone, it is important to keep active and I intend on doing a lot of walking. I have already strolled around a lot of the town and I feel so much better for it (also, 2013 was a terrible year for my health, I did no exercise and ate far, far too much…just before I flew out the needle on my weighing scales was hovering on the 16stone/100 kg mark…that needs to change!) Walking has always been important to me; it clears my mind like nothing else, and also allows ideas to form. The first night here, I went on a late evening walk along the beach and a suggestion of an idea popped into existence, it may not come to anything but I really enjoy it when something comes to mind whilst walking.

Time is a funny thing isn’t it? Depending on your location and situation (not planetary, I’m not clever enough to go into all that…) it works so differently. Are you in an office right now waiting for 5.30pm? Are you at home in front of the television? Are you waiting for an exam result? Are you waiting on news of a job application? Are you waiting for the bath to run? Are you late getting the kids to school? Are you stuck on a train? Are you wide-awake trying to get some sleep before the beep of the alarm clock goes off? Are you on your own in another country?
            Judging by the movement of time so far, I think I will have no excuse at all as to having time to write. I mean, I have bundles of it to spare, it is going nowhere right now. Which has had the effect of scaring the hell out of me. Instead of being pleased that I can get so much done, I am already fast-forwarding to three months time when I will be getting on a plane to the Spanish mainland for the second leg of my trip. What if I have failed to write anything? What if I have got nowhere near as much as I wanted complete? What if this whole experience has proved that in fact, I have wasted my time and that I can’t think of a single sentence that is any good?
            I suppose it is natural to have a little panic. I want so much to produce work that I am pleased with that I am already feeling the pressure of letting myself down. However, I won’t let that little negative devil on my shoulder succeed. I’ve got all the time and coffee anyone could ever need. Just get on with it Rob. As I posted in my previous blog before I left, I will just think of Mr Roth’s process, just write one sentence, and then the next, and the next, and the next…

Take care everyone,


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