Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Can you define yourself?

I was trying to explain to myself how my son would explain me to his son. No one explained anyone to me, but is that a good idea? As a writer I think not. As a human I'm rather glad I stayed in the dark about so many things. I was and am naive, but you can't explain that to a grandson, after all, and who knows that apart from me? I could prove it, but maybe I was just careless or stupid from an outsider perspective.

So what about my nearest (and sometimes dearest)? Would explaining rather than just describing them help? How many people cope with relatives (in particular) and force themselves to live with them because they avoid explaining them to themselves? What are the motives of a mother bullying her child into doing this or that (you see it every day at the supermarket). Mothers push and shove their children all the time. I don't know what percentage of fathers (should they even be available) abuse and misuse their offspring, but it happens in the "best of families" and is often enough condoned by onlookers/insiders.

So how would I explain my own father? Gentle, kind, generous and terminally ill for 14 years, there being no cure for his TB. And my mother? Bitter, sad, permanently grieving and often resentful are words that occur to me. My brother had me as a sister and that was unfortunate for him. I was, on reflection, quite a nasty little girl, yearning for praise and attention, ambitious to go on the stage my mother defined as "sinful" and not suitable for young ladies. Well over half a century later I am bound to judge myself as egoistic in those days, since no one bothered much about the real me as long as I functioned - but how else can you cope with life if you are not egoistic? Later I dropped that habit and it was to my disadvantage...and that is an understatement.

I used to define people as takers or givers, being married for much too long to a taker who built his life on that concept. I always thought I was a giver, but lately I've been on the taking side and that is maybe the clue to my own life, which I do not propose to explain further here as this is not a confessional, but an attempt to explore the inner character and motives of anyone you care to name and in my case those who appear in my novels.

Writing stories for my grandson, I notice that I have to leave out the inner construct of characters in order to retain childishness. I am not a children's author. I ask too many questions. Does that explain why fairy tales are gripping for children? Is that why they can believe in Santa Claus? Ha! Children believe in Santa firstly because their elders pretend to, secondly because believing goes with getting presents, and thirdly to please parents long after a child has realized that there can't be a Santa, after all. The same thing applies to me for religion. It's nice if you can get it (believe in it and you will go to heaven!)!!!! But there is no god behind the clouds, the wind or even a relic in a temple or church built to house the myth. There is no hell except the one we make for ourself or one that is forced upon us while we are alive. Painters and writers have tried to make the elements of hell and heaven, god and gods, come alive. Inexplicable, the naivity that must go along with believing in fairy tales of any genre...

So why all this junk about explaining? Because writing a new novel and revising those that have gone before, I find I am increasingly faced with the question of "why?" (motive). My characters are many and various. In one of my books, my private sleuth heroine states that you cannot spot a criminal by just looking at him or her. It's what going on in the brain that counts. Do we know anything about anyone, then? Do I know that none of my neighbours is a killer, sadist, terrorist, thief etc... What will happen when robots start to think? Will they wipe out humanity because they are evil (programmed by potentially evil persons who may be using them as instruments of evil?) or because humanity itself is evil and at the end of its life-span?

Friday, 8 July 2016

It's happened

52% of Brits have voted the UK out of the EU following a populist "Schwätzer" (= someone who talks nonsense). How stupid. Britain cannot remain "Great"

One writer in The Guardian suggested that the wrong question was asked : Do you want to leave the EU?
It should have read "Do you want the end of the United Kingdom (the correct term. for GB does not include Ulster)?

That's what it means folks. Some people think GB is an Island with a bit of Ireland tagged on. The day after the referendum people phoned in to various chatlines and asked what the EU is.

The vote was democratic? Never. 48% are about to be ignored. Is that democratic? No There should never have been a referendzum. Wise leaders steer away from them, since a yes/no means there can be no grey areas - as if there were none!

The "52% leavers" think the UK is better off without paying subs to the EU. But up to now it has gor more out of the EU than it has invested.

The referendum was held because inner political party differences threatened Tory power. Cameron was conned into it because of his own thirst for power. He has the face of a know-all and the heart of a......... mouse. He tried to bargain with the EU and failed to get his freebies. He bettled and the EU lords said know. I personally think they wanted Cameron out! Now they are all out - to all intents and purposes - if no miracle happens.

Those mainly responsible for the referendum have not stayed to take the brunt or consequences. I mention Cameron, Johnson and Farage. All resigned in its wake. They are cowards, too.

False  information or omission of correct information cost the UK membership. The two ladies now in contest for leadership of the Tory party and by default Prime Minister are sure that that is the end of the EU. Neiuther has the courage to pull the stops out and NOT go for §50 of the Mastricht treaty . Whether they want it or not, the UK is out and that will be the end of the UK because Scotland will leave the UK and join the EU. It is also possible that Ulster (the British bit of Ireland) will overcome its aversion to Eira and join the EU that way. That remains to be seen.

But do people really understand that the referendum does not become legal until a majority of MPs have said they want to abide by it? A majority of MPS actually wants to remain, but certain politicians are assuring the EU that the UK will leave and the EU us already making contingency plans excluding the UK. There are "innofficial" meetings to which Cameron is not invited.

I really only have one problem. No, two. 1) will I live long enough to see it happen and 2) if I survive, will I have to become a German citizen in order to remain a European? I am grappling with these conundrums.

I am to all intents and purposes an illeganl immigrant in spé! How about that?

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


After 6 weeks here in the UK I am no wiser! In or out?

If Scotland votes out it will be so that Scotland can subsequently break with the UK and become European. That almost happened a couple of years ago. OK. So isn't the UK already European? A good question. Seemingly, many Brits do not think so or at least do not want it to be. And don't forget. All Brits except those like me who lived abroad because getting a job caused me to move to Europe in the first place will have a vote. My voice will not be heard. Should I then be loyal to a country that has clearly forgotten me?

But it's clear that the Brexit press is getting cold feet. After all, people believe what they see in writing and the UK press will not want to be blamed for the chaos that will ensue if the UK decides to float off into the Atlantic!

Leading the 'out' campaign is the ex Lord Mayor of London, a wily and not seldom absurd figure who is making ridiculous, unsubstantiated and clearly inaccurate statements about what the EU forces  the UK to do and has committed many gaffs that are unlikely to do his career any good, though his idea is to use so-called Brexit to further his own political career.

For me as an expatriate of many years the question of Nationality is important. Brexit probably means that I will apply for German citizenship. This situation applies to many others who live abroad. Any loyalty to my country of birth will be made subservient to the desire to move freely in Europe.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

In or out?

It's difficult to avoid the controversy that is going on in the UK (and the EU of course) about the so-called Brexit vote on June 23rd.
No one knows what is going to happen and I don't bet, but I would not be at all surprised if the UK votes OUT.
I heard a programme about what would happen to Scotland, most of whose population and all the political parties want to stay in Europe on the grounds that "we are European" and I would not be at all surprised if Scotland voted for the EU rather than remaining in the UK.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Like painting tower bridge!

Reviewing and indeed almost re-writing past novels in my Upper Grumpsfield series is exhausting and I'm really quite glad to be working on the 9th in the series. I didn't really intend to write beyond the original novel, but started as a call came from the community site NANOWRIMO to enter a novel written in November. 'Thirty days hath November' becomes hard reality when you want to write a novel in that short space of time, but I did manage to write one, partly because I also had a set of strong characters from the original saga to help me along. I had caught the bug. I love writing, and especially novels, where I had enjoyed poetry and short story writing before.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Half-way house

I have now completed a review of the last 4 books in the Miss Price series (see list on the right) and will work backwards until I reach the beginning, by which time I will have decided whether to split the original and first Miss Price book, which is far too long, into two.
I would never have thought that reviewing my own writing could be so much fun, but I am fascinated by what I wrote, by the contradictions typing errors, funny punctuation, odd grouping of chapters, etc. Asked why I write, I would say it's because I have to.
If you want to read anything I have written, I suggest you start with the 5th in the 'price series'.  

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Time, tide and the 'nanowrimo' thing

I did it again. I finished my November epic in 18 days and posted it on the first day out (20th November). If you want to look or read, go HERE. It is a corrected draft, by the way, and I really did write it in 18 days. I know it's easy enough to bluff about that, but the whole idea of writing fast is what fascinates me, who is a chronic ditherer, never feeling that anything is good enough. My pile of unfinished chorus arrangements and unfinished paintings is evidence of that. I'm curing that symptom at least in painting, since I can delete what's there, hoping to paint something else instead. But that pile of hungry canvases is challenging me now!
I did finish two matching paintings last week because they were not for me. It was hard work and it took me longer than necessary because I also procrastinate and give myself time to think. In the end I don't seem to have a decent photo of those artworks (?). I'll add one later.

Back to writing. I'm getting the knack of writing fast. My only problem is that in the 8 books in the series I have worn out my characters - the ones I haven't killed off - and it's hight time I found a new cast, or bring one or two of them to life, which is an idea I haven't had until this moment of writing this post. I left one or two characters idle in previous 'epics', so I could dig them out, I suppose, though the reason for dropping them was probably irritation. Some characters don't do what you want them to and/or develop in a direction you cannot sustain.
I have no doubt that my situation affects other authors - even or especially the famous, much read, affluent, influential etc. You notice that sometimes when you read their series of books about the same main protagonists. At about the 8th in a series the characters start repeating themselves, i.e. their deeds are repeated, the plots thin out, and in one case currently extremely strong in the book market, you find new titles for the books and  - maybe with a little editing - re-publish, I fell for that just once. The book seemed familiar, so I looked along my row of the whole series and there it was: the same wolf in different clothing. I have now stopped buying anything by that author. I've nothing against making money, but money-spinning through repeat publication of the same stuff without drawing attention to the fact seems more than a little deceitful.
You will have noticed that I do not name names. The internet is deceitful and I do not wish to be quoted or sued.
A different author is doing something quite similar to spin off more books. I downloaded her latest book and it was not only short on grammar, which apparently is part of her charm, but short on plot and long on clichés stemming largely from the clichés in previous books.

Conclusion: Like Pirandello, I'll have to find characters that are (still?) looking for an author! Read about it here: Reference. The play is considered to be one of the all-time greats in the genre, by the way.