There's the rub.
I got book #2 off to my agent a couple of weeks ago, and am about 12K words into the next one. The subconscious has been pondering much since getting the last one out into the world. I've skimmed nearly every book known to man on crafting novels, creating characters, etc, and have (um, duh) realised that this creativity thing really is personal. What I'm doing now:
• storyboarding/planning. Yep. Which means knowing the ending before starting to write. Years of my life were wasted waiting for the 'muse' that would show me the way to the end.
• notating everything about the characters for consistency - not trusting myself to remember everything
• as the quote above says, sitting alone in a room and wrenching it out, word by word
• continuing to define myself as an author, which has been transformational
As with anything, treating a book as a project, with definitive goals in mind, gets results. And I still love sitting down every day and hammering out a few thousand words.
Scotland continues to show me her moods. Living on the river means I can observe its many faces, watch the wildlife interact as its depth changes, sometimes hourly. An ever-present chill permeates the air, and I find it difficult to believe it is June after so many years in the summer heat of southern Europe. There is comfort in the inconsistencies of this beautiful place. And it's easy to stay inside and write when outside refuses to beckon.
That's the Skye Bridge on a glorious May evening. Skye is one of the most breathtaking places I've ever been. The landscape overpowers everything, and that is rare. Even the apartment blocks seem to glide gracefully into the hills.
Neist Point is in the west of Skye. The edges of this small peninsula of land whispers of the strength of whatever natural disaster created the Western Isles. I found this windswept slice of land so inspiring.
It's been strange watching Euro 2008 after living in Lisbon for 2004. I've watched all the games at home, as I still haven't found a pub here that I'm comfortable in, but even so the feel of the tournament is different. I do love international football. It's fun to pick up on the idiosyncrasies of each team - watching the Italians fall all over one another after a goal, the Germans nod and pat one another on the arm, the Spanish fall to their knees and pray. And it's interesting to see how players have matured since four years ago, or since the World Cup two years ago. Portugal v Netherlands final, methinks.
I love this photo because it feels like summer - though it was taken on a rare sunny Sunday in April, just below Inverness castle.
We spent a brief weekend in Barcelona recently for the wedding of a Spanish friend, and I caught the bug again. The feel of a foreign land makes me giddy. I wonder if I'll always want whatever is at the other end of a flight. I remember feeling this way about Scotland when I first visited in 2004. Perhaps that's my tragic flaw - the need to feel the newness of a foreign city, the discomfort of trying to adjust to another way of life. It challenges the soul.