My first flight was on the Eastern shuttle between New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Washington, D.C. I was age 9, and traveling with my grandparents. We three made the short flight to visit for a week with my uncle, aunt and cousins, who were then living in northern Virginia.
I kept that Eastern shuttle’s ticket stub for something approaching three decades after. Do you think I can find it now? Of course I can’t! (I have flown on so many airlines that are now long out of business. The list is extensive: Eastern, Pan Am, TWA, Tower Air, Air Inter. There may be others, but I can’t immediately remember them.)
While cat sitting for friends last month, I’d noticed this coaster on their dining room table. I photographed it because, being a man, I’m not entirely sure how to take this:
And it made me chuckle. We saw them again last night; they have just moved house temporarily until they move permanently to Cambridge in August. So we got to see their “interim” place in Bath, and she had that coaster on their dining room table once more.
I’ve been up here, near the Westbury White Horse, a bunch of times. However, I’d never taken any photos of this, but finally did yesterday. So how about some English medievalism/ Anglo-Saxon romantic legend for a Wednesday morning:
The way information flies at us is now unprecedented. Masses comes our way, and we “gulp” down lots. But it’s hard to know how much we honestly can process.
Moreover, social media conveys a happy impression that we all live, more or less, in the same “space” – if not precisely the same geographic place. We’re seemingly required as well to have opinions on just about everything happening, and everywhere. And we have to have them immediately.
You find yourself worn out now and then? I do. This weekend was one of those times.
Saturday morning, one of my Twitter lists had displayed this. All at the same time. Seriously:
I have literally awoken at times around 3am, my mind for some reason fixating on some plot point or statement. I wonder, “Did I leave *that* out? Did she say that?” It’s a sick feeling that can ruin a night’s sleep.
So far – luckily – whenever I have had that happen, on frantic double-checking I discover everything is fine, and I breathe out. When writing a series, you need a perfect memory. You can’t miss a thing, because even a minor oversight or “misremembering” a tiny “fact” from earlier can prove pretty embarrassing later on.
I’ve been rereading Passports at length over the last few days. It’s the first time I’ve done so in at least a year. As I do, I’m finding I’m also struck by how the books are “evolving” from that opener.
We know there are the “sneak peeks” that the likes of Amazon use to drive sales. But that is not always enough. Much as with musicians who do free gigs and artists who display paintings merely to be seen, when you are lesser known as an independent author it is certainly unreasonable to expect readers to part with money for your work until they believe it is worth it.
So making a novel free is often necessary. Still, it does go against the grain to offer complete free books to enable readers to get to know your work when yours aren’t “shorts” produced every few months for quickie consumption. It’s a lot easier psychologically to give away 1 “short” book when you have “16” others out there, than it is to give away a 400 page novel when you have only 2 of them.
* * *
Much is also made of the fact that independent novels, be they shorts or full-length, are imperfect. They may have, for example, typos:
Yesterday evening I hit one of my interim targets for Distances, the third novel. Every chapter in the manuscript is now, more or less, under control. The scope of the book is largely settled.
Within my outline, I write wherever my mind takes me. I “finished” the book somewhere in middle of the last third of it, when two chapters that had been only “skeletons” up to that point were filled in generally at last. Having done that, I sat stunned briefly.
My mind then took me forward to the next book. I’m unprepared mentally to say “goodbye” to these characters yet. Quickly, I stopped myself from thinking that far ahead.