Book Trailer Tease


Book Trailer Test-1Anticipating the publication of my next novel – out at the end of the year – I’ve started work on a book trailer. All right, I’ll confess, it’s really just an excuse for me to fool around with some new animation techniques – well, new to me, anyway. Before you ask, no, I still can’t reveal what the book is. The best I can offer at this early stage is the above enigmatic video clip that represents my latest animation test. It’s just four second long, so blink and you’ll miss it.

New Fiction Bubbling Under

Book trailer test frame

Yes, I know, you haven’t seen much new fiction from me recently. This year that’s going to change.

First up, in July 2018, Simon & Schuster will publish the Crown of Three Epic Collection. It’s a three-volume box set collecting together my trio of fantasy novels for young readers, written under the pseudonym J.D. Rinehart – Crown of Three, The Lost Realm and A Kingdom Rises. Okay, maybe these books don’t quite fall into the ‘new’ category, but it’s a thrill to see them all smartly packaged up like this.

The real ‘new’ comes at the end of the year, however, when you’ll be able to get your hands on my brand new novel. Call me a tease, but I’m holding off saying too much about it until a little nearer the publication date. So what can I tell you? Well, it’s a fantasy novel. It’s closely connected to some of my earlier fiction. It’s also a little strange.

Right now I’m looking forward to the imminent copy editing process with my publishers – a smashing bunch of people I’ve worked with before – while simultaneously having tremendous fun putting together a book trailer and accompanying website. With the publication date some way off, you might think it’s crazy to start such nonsense now, but with my animation render times going rapidly through the roof I figure it makes sense to get ahead of the game.

In fact, the image at the top of this post is one of the trailer test frames. If you’re familiar with my fiction, this sneaky peek may give you a clue as to what’s in store …

A Kingdom Rises This Month

Crown of Three - A Kingdom Rises

It’s always a good day when a new author’s comp drops into my mailbox. Here’s the latest: A Kingdom Rises, the final instalment of my fantasy trilogy for middle grade readers, with yours truly writing under the pseudonym J.D. Rinehart. It’s out in hardback on May 30, 2017, so if you haven’t read the first two volumes now is the perfect time to catch up.

Here’s the blurb from the inside jacket cover:

An ancient prophecy says that when three stars appear in the sky, triplets will take the throne and peace will come to the land. The stars have appeared, and the triplets are Gulph, Tarlan and Elodie. But the prophecy has failed.

Tarlan saw Gulph die during a final confrontation with their undead father. Gulph fell from a burning tower, and there’s no way he could have survived … even with Gulph’s special abilities.

As for his sister, Elodie, Tarlan is convinced that she’s a traitor who betrayed the rebellion and her family just so she could have the throne to herself.

With nothing left to believe in, Tarlan is abandoning both the cause and his pack of wild animals and is heading north.

But appearances can be deceiving. And in a world of magic and deceit, mistaking lies for truth can be deadly.

Dragoncharm Special Edition – Coming Soon

"Dragoncharm - Special Edition" cover art by Graham Edwards

“Dragoncharm – Special Edition” cover art by Graham Edwards

This year of 2016 marks the 21st anniversary of the publication of Dragoncharm, my first novel. It’s been out of print for some years, but just recently I’ve been looking at ways of getting it out to readers again. At long last, I think I’ve found one.

The idea is simple enough. Later in the year, I plan to republish a brand new ebook edition entitled Dragoncharm – Special Edition. I hope it will happen in the summer, but don’t hold me to it. There’s a lot of work still to do, and there are only so many corners in the day.

Why the “special edition” tag? Well, I’ll talk about that in future blog posts. Let’s just say I’m preparing the text in a way that, I hope, invites new readers smoothly into my dragon world, yet feels warm and familiar to fans of the original.

I’ll also be talking about the cover art, revealed here for the very first time. There’s a fun little story behind that too – isn’t there always? Ah, but if you happen to own a copy of the original UK paperback of Dragoncharm, you may already have figured it out …

The many lives of a writer – 7

Most people are like cats – they live not just one life, but many. Writers are no exception. Here’s me as I plunge into my seventh writing life.

Cinefex TypewriterLife 7 – Just the facts, ma’am

My seventh writing life starts today, as I start my new role as senior staff writer at Cinefex, a leading American magazine that publishes in-depth articles about major feature films – specifically the visual and special effects. It’s spectacularly exciting, unbelievably challenging, and absolutely a dream come true.

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll know all about Cinefex. You’ll know that I’ve been reading the magazine since the early ‘80s, when I was a spotty teenager who divided his time more or less equally between haunting his local cinema and prowling the streets with a Super-8 camera making strange and occasionally disturbing short films.

The Formula For Fire - Cinefex 136You may also know that, around four years ago, I started writing blog articles reviewing the magazine’s early issues, in a series called Revisiting Cinefex. One thing led to another, and I ended up running a weekly blog for the magazine itself. I also wrote a full-length article that saw print in Cinefex 136, covering the visual effects of Rush, Ron Howard’s 2013 film chronicling the famous rivalry between F1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt.

From now on, such articles are going to be my bread and butter, as I join the Cinefex editorial team to write full-time for the magazine.

Actually, this new job’s about more than just writing. Working on the VFX industry’s journal of record means I’ll be doing a ton of research, which includes conducting one-on-one interviews with key movie personnel. You see, Cinefex is the industry bible – according to Star Wars creator George Lucas, the magazine is “required reading for anyone interested in the new era of filmmaking.” Legendary filmmaker James Cameron has no hesitation in calling it “the one true source.”

No pressure then.

“Wait a second,” I hear you cry. “I thought you wrote fiction.”

Yes, I do. And I’ll continue to do it just as I always have, after the day job’s done. The great news is that, from now on, the day job is all about writing too.

Anyway, I’ve come to believe that the perceived gap between fact and fiction is in reality paper-thin. While my new mantra will by necessity be “just the facts, ma’am”, there’s a lot more to research journalism than just crunching data. Good reporting means first getting to the heart of things, then discovering what makes that heart beat, and finally communicating the rhythm you hear to the reader.

In other words, it’s about telling the story.

And that’s what I intend to do.

 

The Bone Clocks – Review

"The Bone Clocks" by David MitchellEver since the publication in 1999 of his first novel, Ghostwritten, author David Mitchell has consistently delighted in playing with narrative structure, such as in his earlier work, Cloud Atlas, in which six centuries-spanning narratives are nested together like matryoshka dolls.

Mitchell’s latest novel, The Bone Clocks, is also divided into multiple sections, each with its own narrator. However, unlike Cloud Atlas, its story is ultimately about just one person – Holly Sykes, an ordinary Gravesend girl with an extraordinary gift, who finds herself caught up in a cosmic battle between the Horologists and the Anchorites – two factions of rarefied amortals who share the ability to cheat death.

I’ve just finished listening to the unabridged Whole Story Audiobooks edition of The Bone Clocks, wonderfully narrated by Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, Steven Crossley, Laurel Lefkow and Anna Bentinck. Given the audiobook’s total length of nearly 25 hours, it was a mammoth undertaking. But that’s the great thing about audiobooks – they force to you listen to every single word.

Where The Bone Clocks is concerned, that can only be a good thing. Mitchell’s prose is rich and witty, his dialogue frothy and articulate, his ideas strong and far-seeing. Yet the whole is imbued with a clarity of diction many so-called literary authors fight shy of. The sound of a pivotal cataclysmic event is described as like “a town being dropped, and everything in it smashing to bits”; after a ride up a mountain, “Holly slides off the chairlift like a gymnast, and I slide off like a sack of hammers”; we are told that “the soul is on the edge of what’s visible, like a clear glass marble in a jar of water.”

It’s hard not to compare this novel with Cloud Atlas – which I read in the conventional way and which, yes, I do confess to skimming a bit. The Bone Clocks is more accessible than its predecessor, I think. The connections between the different parts are more obvious, and despite the unusual structure the whole thing follows a more traditional narrative arc.

Some characters from the two books even share the same DNA. Crispin Hershey, the curmudgeonly author of The Bone Clocks, bears more than a passing resemblance to Timothy Cavendish, the irascible vanity publisher of Cloud Atlas. I have no problem with that. Hershey’s voice is as pithy, plummy and crackling with fireworks as that of his literary predecessor. As performed by Steven Crossley, Hershey is always sympathetic, frequently hysterically funny, yet consistently and disarmingly sad.

The clarity of Mitchell’s storytelling is welcome in a book of this complexity. It also creates one of the novel’s few problems. Some of the exposition, especially that which delves into the actions and motives of the novel’s undying amortals, is sufficiently on-the-nose that it sometimes robs the story of mystery.

Similarly, the repetitive strokes of deus ex machina that are wielded by the amortals, and which ultimately stitch Holly Sykes’s entire life together, are sometimes too predictable to be anything more than, well, acts of costumed gods descending on cardboard chariots from a theatrical heaven.

But these are minor gripes. If Mitchell’s storytelling machine makes the occasional clunk, it’s only because he’s revving it to the max. The jolts are worth tolerating, not least for those exquisite moments when the gears of those disparate narratives mesh suddenly and seamlessly together, and all the hairs go up on the back of your neck.

Given that it’s ultimately about the journey of one, flawed, human soul, could The Bone Clocks have packed more of an emotional punch? Yes, I think it could. In the hands of a fantasy author like Neil Gaiman would its other-worldly elements have delivered a more heightened sense of wonder? Perhaps.

But I don’t believe that’s what the author wanted. I believe Mitchell is a skilled enough writer that he delivered exactly the story he intended to tell. Given the extraordinary breadth of the world he creates, and the fundamental ordinariness of the souls who inhabit it, that’s no mean feat. Bottom line? This is an another extraordinary novel from one of the bravest and best writers of his generation, and you need to read it.

My final remark is reserved for the title. While the phrase “bone clocks” gives little away, nevertheless it reeks with symbolism. Is this a psychological thriller? A dark fantasy? A lifetime’s memoir? The answer is it’s all those things and more.

If you’re wondering what a “bone clock” is, let me assure you that the meaning of the phrase is revealed during the course of David Mitchell’s epic tale. Not that it’s my place to tell you the secret.

For that, you’ll have to read the book for yourself.

 

Mike Batt’s “The Hunting of the Snark”

Mike Batt - The Hunting of the SnarkRummaging through a forgotten drawer the other day, I dug out a dusty collection of ancient audio cassettes that hadn’t seen the light of day for years. Among them was a real oddment: a musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem The Hunting of the Snark, which tells the story of a motley ship’s crew who come ashore in a strange land, in search of a mysterious creature called – you guessed it – the Snark.

The true nature of the Snark is never revealed. At various stages we learn that this peculiar beast likes to get up late, is fond of bathing machines, and may either “have feathers, and bite” or “have whiskers, and scratch”. Most worrying of all, if you do finally succeed in your quest to capture a Snark, you’d better pray that it isn’t a Boojum. For, as the Bellman warns:

But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
And never be met with again!

As for the recording I’d found, well, it was the work of British songwriter and musician, Mike Batt. The cassette dated from 1986, so it was no real surprise that when I tried to listen to it, all that came out was mangled and demagnetised noise.

Still, my curiosity was aroused. I remembered listening to the thing years ago, and quite enjoying it. But had it really been any good? There was only one way to find out: download the album from iTunes, listen to it with fresh ears and try to decide what on Earth had possessed Batt to attempt not only an adaptation of one of Carroll’s most delicious pieces of nonsense, but a musical one to boot.

The Songs

The first thing that struck me as I set out in this voyage of rediscovery was the album’s cast list. It’s an eclectic mix of voice talent, with a range of big-name ’80s pop singers underpinned by a dream-team duo of narrators in the form of John Gielgud and John Hurt, whose rich blend of plumminess and gravel tones gives the whole album a credibility that’s somewhat undermined by the rest of the vocals. It’s not that the individual singing performances are bad – some are very good – but the wildly differing vocal styles of artists including Cliff Richard, Roger Daltrey, Art Garfunkel, Deniece Williams and Julian Lennon make for a choppy listening experience.

So how about the songs they sing? Well, they’re pretty good. There’s a powerful signature anthem called Children of the Sky, sung by composer Batt and presenting what’s effectively his mission statement for the work as a whole. Other standouts are The Bellman’s Speech (which proves that Cliff Richard can acquit himself surprisingly well when asked to sing something that might have come from Gilbert & Sullivan), the wistful Midnight Smoke and rambunctious and forthright The Pig Must Die. However, the misplaced disco beat of Dancing Towards Disaster is something I can live without.

The music is at its best when its core pop/prog rock vibe is supported by the London Symphony Orchestra. My favourite parts, in fact, are those which are entirely instrumental, such as the Introduction and the climactic The Vanishing. This latter somehow manages to combine a full-blown orchestral score with ’80s synth and sax, together with a dusting of tribal percussion and the ever reliable G&S, all without missing a beat. Batt may be best known as a composer of pop songs, but his orchestral work, as represented here, ranges from witty to sublime.

The Story

So, is Mike Batt’s musical a fair adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s original poem? It’s tough question to answer, not least because I’m of the opinion that Carroll’s works – including the much-loved Alice in Wonderland – more or less defy translation into any other form. Why are they so hard to adapt? The answer’s quite simple. Because they’re nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not using the word in the pejorative sense. Like Alice and Jabberwocky and all the rest of them, The Hunting of the Snark is simply not designed to add up. Nor does it contain a coherent and dramatically satisfying narrative flow. Its power (and it has considerable power, make no mistake) lies in its very absurdity, in its wordplay, and in the spaces between those words: its subtext, if a piece of nonsense can be said to have such a thing.

Mike Batt seems like a smart cookie to me, so I have no doubt he was aware of all this when he decided to take on The Hunting of the Snark. Like most other adapters of Carroll, his solution was to tease out narrative strands from the original and impose it on the whole. For example, he turned the friendship between the Butcher (Art Garfunkel) and the Beaver (Deniece Williams) into a borderline romance. Given Lewis Carroll’s propensity for playing with words, and the modern slang meaning for “beaver”, I’m not convinced this was such a good idea …

More successful is Batt’s attempt to give the work an overarching theme. This he does well, largely through the success of the aforementioned anthem, which is woven through the album in both its lyrical and instrumental forms. Here’s the chorus:

Don’t let the memory die,
Childen of the sky, heroes of the sea.
And as your life passes by,
Remember how it feels to be
Children Of The Sky

Spinning his own words out of the source material, Batt evokes an atmosphere of yearning and adventure that manages to be both melancholy and inspirational at the same time. It perfectly matches my own feelings about Carroll’s original poem. Alone, this one song overrides my few misgivings and leads me to believe that Mike Batt’s The Hunting of the Snark may very well be a triumph.

The Musical

Having done a little more digging around, I’ve discovered that Mike Batt’s The Hunting of the Snark has been more or less forgotten. Its original album release was withdrawn because of some kind of record label dispute. For many people, their first encounter with the material was a 1986 televised, costumed performance in the Royal Albert Hall, for which some of the cast reprised their album roles, with other performers stepping in to fill the gaps. And, while it was presented in flamboyant style on stage in both Sydney (1990) and London (1991), neither of these theatrical versions enjoyed a long run.

Given the popularity of other musical concept albums like Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, this is kind of surprising. Or, then again, maybe it isn’t. The quirky, meandering nature of this material never fully resolves into something dramatically satisfying. And, despite containing some startingly accomplished passages of music, The Hunting of the Snark is lacking a real showstopper.

What it does have, however, is lashings of bravery and acres of charm. In attempting to create a musical based on one of Carroll’s lesser-known (yet still much-beloved) works, Mike Batt was himself setting out on a quest to capture an elusive beast. Did he succeed in bringing it to ground, or did his Snark turn out to be a Boojum?

Decide for yourself:

 

On Cloud Atlas

"Cloud Atlas" movie posterThe Cloud Atlas Journal of Graham Edwards

Having unfortunately missed the opportunity to view the kinematographic entertainment appellated Cloud Atlas at my local magic lantern house upon its initial theatrical release, I was most gratified when my dear spouse, Mrs E, graciously presented me with a DVD edition of said motion picture as a Yuletide gift.

It was with considerable anticipation that I reclined in the comfort of my drawing room to watch Cloud Atlas, and indeed the viewing experience was largely satisfactory. I was greatly impressed by the ambitious breadth of vision contained in an entertainment which attempts to weave together six apparently disparate strands of narrative spanning many time periods, and was never less than intrigued by the ingenious ways in which the troupe of well-known actors performed with special make-up and elaborate costumery in order to play multiple roles, thus reinforcing the narrative’s central themes of reincarnation and the pursuit of ultimate destiny.

I confess, however, that it was this notion of ultimate destiny which proved limiting to my wider enjoyment of the motion picture, to whit, as the entertainment sped towards its climax, I found myself frustrated by the failure of said climax to deliver on the not inconsiderable promises made by the earlier twists and turns of the story, to the point where I undertook

Emails from Nottingham

Don – I finally saw “Cloud Atlas”, which I thought was good, although for me it fell at the last fence. I don’t know; maybe it was the end result of being constantly distracted into playing that popular parlour game, “Spot the False Nose”. Don’t get me wrong. The cast are all on top-form – and clearly having a ball – but all that make-up is just so distracting!

Don – I know I damned “Cloud Atlas” with faint praise first time around, but I can’t help thinking that maybe you’re right about a second viewing. Despite my misgivings, I can’t remember the last time I watched a nearly-three-hour movie that held my attention the entire time – as this movie did. Your enthusiasm for the damn thing is enough to convince me it’s worth another shot.

The First Cloud Atlas Mystery

Having watched the film adaptation of Cloud Atlas for the second time, Graham immediately downloaded a copy of David Mitchell’s original novel to his Kindle. Curious about the author’s opinion of the movie version – adapted and directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer – he was pleased to discover that this very topic was discussed in Mitchell’s introduction to the ebook edition.

Further investigation saw Graham unearthing Translating “Cloud Atlas” Into the Language of Film, an article written by Mitchell in The Wall Street Journal. Reading the article, he learned what the author regards as the “five habits of successful adaptations”.

The Ghastly Ordeal of Mrs E

As soon as Cloud Atlas had finished, Mrs E sat up, stretched, turned to her husband and said, “Well, that’s three hours of my life I’m never getting back.”

Orison of Graham-226

Why did you view the wachowski of the cloud atlas before reading the mitchell?

It simply happened that way.

Which do you prefer?

The question has no meaning. Whether presented in the form of a wachowski or a mitchell, all narrative ultimately serves the same purpose.

And what is that purpose?

After all these years, do you not know?

Grum’s Crossin’ an’ Ev’rythin’ After

When I was a forty-niner I got to read’n’ the icon Cloud Atlas in the Kindle an’ it spoke to me with a yarnin’ like the movin’ show I seen afore. It was the same only not the same an’ I saw I was in a circlin’ place all start an’ no end, an’ my heart was all in the nowlife an’ noplace else, and I ‘member’d what it is my heart loves an’ that thing of all other things is a spesh yarn.

Orison of Graham-226

Pure-blood law cannot tolerate more than one version of the cloud atlas. The mitchell will be preserved in the archive, while all traces of the wachowski will be destroyed. How does that make you feel?

Pure-bloods see with limited vision. I am a fabricant. I see further than you.

What do your fabricant eyes see?

They see closed minds hiding their blindness behind cloaks of fear.

What are they afraid of?

Those who strive. Those who stumble. Those who are different.

What are you afraid of?

Conformity.

The Ghastly Ordeal of Mrs E

Removing the Cloud Atlas disc from the player, Edwards turned to his wife and said contemplatively, “You know, I think this might be one of those films that gets better each time you watch it.”

In response, Mrs E arched a single eyebrow and remarked, “I would rather sit for three hours watching paint dry.”

The First Cloud Atlas Mystery

The first habit identified by Mitchell is for filmmakers to turn “the bagginess of novels” into “cinematic tautness”. The second is for “suggestiveness” to become “exactitude”. Third is the need to reduce the number of characters, while fourth is the powerful influence of a film’s musical score: “A gifted score-composer can somehow transform the essence of a book into music and have it waft through, like the Holy Spirit.”

Mitchell’s fifth and final remark is that “all roads lead to closure”. In other words, books can afford to leave the reader hanging. But to be successful, most films need at least some form of Hollywood ending.

Emails from Nottingham

Don – Well, you were right. I watched “Cloud Atlas” for a second time and was completely blown away. If you recall, I told you I’d decided that first time around I was thinking too hard, trying too hard to join all the dots, to see the connections between the different narratives, to work out what the hell it all means. Oh, and distracted by all that make-up.

On the second viewing, I just immersed myself in the thing (the constantly shifting sands of the interwoven stories, together with the amazing score, made that easy to do) and was suitably rewarded. As a result, I found myself transported to somewhere extraordinary.

Many critics slammed the movie for setting the bar impossibly high and failing to leap over it. What they didn’t acknowledge was that, in setting the bar where they did, the Wachowskis and Tykwer ended up jumping higher than most. So I’ve changed my mind. I now think “Cloud Atlas” is a masterpiece.

"Cloud Atlas" by David MitchellThe Cloud Atlas Journal of Graham Edwards

what I may describe as a bold decision to watch the motion picture for a second time. During this second viewing, I found myself fascinated, even to the point where, I might say, my spirit was elevated to a higher plane of consciousness. In summation, the viewing experience was a highly pleasurable one, to the point where I now anticipate the rewards of viewing the entertainment known as Cloud Atlas for a third, and perhaps fourth, time.

All that remains, as I close this journal and set down my pen, is to seek out the original novel from which the motion picture was adapted, and expand my awareness to embrace what might be described as the entirety of the Cloud Atlas experience. When I have completed this next journey, I may be compelled to pick up my quill once more and report upon my findings. Until such time, I dedicate the contents of this journal to whomever may find it.

Talus Sneaks into the ALA

American Library Association logo

I was delighted to discover today that I’ve got an honourable mention on the American Library Association’s list of the year’s best genre fiction for adult readers.

While the “Mystery” category was won by Ashley Weaver’s Murder at the Brightwell, you’ll find my neolithic detective novel Talus and the Frozen King sitting proudly in the supporting “Short List”, along with Mo Hayder’s Wolf, Bruce Holsinger’s A Burnable Book and The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man by W. Bruce Cameron.

For the full list of winners and recommended reads, visit the official ALA website:

The many lives of a writer – 6

Talus and the Frozen King UK CoverMost people are like cats – they live not just one life, but many. Writers are no exception. Here’s the skinny on my sixth writing life.

Life 6 – Collaboration

I’m not exactly sure when I slipped into my sixth writing life. That’s the thing with time. We like to imagine it frozen into neat little chunks, like ice cubes in a tray. But time is really a river, flowing constantly from one changed state to the next. One minute you’re meandering sluggishly between gently wafting reeds, the next you’re hanging on for grim death as you plunge through white water rapids.

Right now, the water’s running clear and fast and the scenery’s gorgeous. Here’s why:

  • I’m writing regular blog articles for Cinefex, the magazine of cinema visual effects. I’ve also written an article for the magazine itself about the VFX of Ron Howard’s F1 film Rush.
  • I’ve had a new novel published: Talus and the Frozen King.
  • Having taken time out from ghostwriting to concentrate on my own projects, I’m back behind the mask again, with a contract to write three fantasy novels for a book packager, working to their outlines and delivering the manuscripts at one-year intervals. The first book is done, and I’ll be starting the second in the autumn.

As a writer, I’ve never been busier. But that’s not what it’s about. Not really. What’s important – what marks this as a true writing life and not just another phase – is the flow not of the river, but of the thoughts in my head.

Next year I turn fifty. As I stare down that particular barrel, I find myself reflecting on my early days as a greenhorn wordsmith. When my first novel was published (dear god, was that really nearly twenty years ago?), a novelist was all I wanted to be. You’ve heard of a burning desire? Mine was third-degree. But, much as the compulsion to write long-form fiction still has me by the throat, these days I’m gripped by other urges that burn just as ferociously.

The Formula For Fire - Cinefex 136The first is non-fiction. The writing and reporting I’m doing for Cinefex has unlocked something I never known I had – a desire to tell stories that are true. It’s also shown me that writing can be a shared experience. As a novelist, there’s only ever you and the four walls. Now I’m appreciating the joys of writing as part of a team. As lessons go, it’s hard to beat.

The second is ghostwriting – which is all about teamwork too, now I think about it. There’s something liberating about the process: a workshoppy kind of vibe I find seductive. It isn’t to every writer’s taste, but it suits my palate pretty well.

This isn’t to say I’ve given up on the four walls. Far from it. For me, the creative drive – as I’ve noted on this blog before – is much like a volcano. Regardless of what I plan or do, pressure builds up. If I don’t release it once in a while, there’s going to be one hell of a mess. And, even in the most collaborative of environments, writing is ultimately a lonely affair. When it comes to the crunch, it’s just you and the keyboard, or the yellow legal pad, or whatever tool you choose as a way of channeling the madness out of your head and into the world.

How long will my sixth writing life last? Who knows? All I know is, it’s currently in full flow, and that makes me happy. Somewhere downstream – perhaps around the next bend, perhaps even far ahead where the river widens into the sea – a seventh life may be waiting.

I’ll let you know when I get there.

 

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