Granny is working at steam pace. Yes there will be more of Going Mental - much more. But she is working on two books simultaneously; gutting and rewriting GM - which used to go under a different name! - and also writing from scratch another novel about a mixed up teenager, set on this island and called Breathing Fire. And no she is not going to post this as she goes along. She holds new work very tight to her (one-sided) chest and doesn't show it to anyone, let alone publish it to the world as she would do if she put it up here; even to the little world that reads her. She's not even quite sure how the story ends yet! She always works like that, not knowing quite where she's going till she gets there. But she's 16,000 words in, if you'd like to know and thinks she's pleased with what she's got. Going Mental is another matter, written, originally, several years ago. On the other hand she won't let herself put any new chapter up until she's got two more waiting - at the moment she only has two altogether. So bear with her a day or two and it will be there. She promises.
But she's back to all the writerly neuroses. Terrified of dying by some accident before the work is finished, she rushes on. 'Why worry, you've got plenty of time,' says Beloved, But Granny feels Time's Chariot at her heels, let alone air crash, car crash, rocks falling out of sky, flash flood, mad dog, bird flu, you name it........ And on top of that the house burning down taking all her work with it. Losing work is a real writer's neurosis. Thomas Carlyle wrote a book once, every day he put the finished pages in a cupboard in his study, near the fire. Unfortunately, every day, the maid opened the cupboard and saw the pages as perfect for lighting the fire....Lesson might be do your own chores; but I guess he didn't learn it. Remember to back your work up, Granny. Now. And take the memory stick out with you, on your keyring, like Beloved. That's the safest way of doing it.
The other effect of writing - appropriate on this tourist island - is feeling like a tourist in your own life. Don't know where she read it - but she's read it lots of places she thinks - other writers saying, I'm only living in my work at the moment. Not living life.......
Granny has nothing against tourism as such. On this island it has given previously hungry people a life. Since desalination made tourism possible, the picturesque may have declined bit by bit - no old men leading donkeys around, little if any ploughing with mules and camels - etc etc, but such picturesque is hard work, for the locals and not for the tourist. The island remains pretty good just for itself. It's a pity the tourist authorities don't get it. They want to make three more golf courses! - on a place with only desalinated water?..... please... Two or three more theme parks. (Wild West in Lanzarote? Anyone for Katmandhu?) They want to turn working areas - vineyards, cactus fields producing cochineal - into pastiches of themselves, working theme parks. And so forth. Thereby driving away people like you and me, darling -us discerning tourists (of course.) As opposed to the other sort, the tattooed bucket and spade, disco, Irish pub, Macdonald's lot, the flesh hanging out all over lot, who don't notice the concrete, who come on all-in packages, most of their money going to the tour operators. And who get drunk and cause trouble. Whom the locals - and tourist authorities are ever more fed up with.
A little story; the man who came on an all-in holiday - the all-ins hangs about their hotels mostly, emerging only to drink at British run bars. This one did venture out his last evening to local run restaurant along the strip. He ate his fill there and got up to leave. 'Hey', says the waiter - in Spanish -' here's your bill.' 'What bill?' asks the man. 'My holiday is all in.'
He had not only eaten his fill, he'd drunk it. He got aggressive. They had to call the police; yet again.
Living on a tourist island you do get ashamed of being British sometimes. Perhaps there's something to be said, Granny thinks, for living, mostly -at this moment - within her growing MSS.
Labels: writing stuff