Vanuatu, Vanuatu, wherefore art thou Vanuatu?

Sunday evening it was with a start that I realised I hadn’t written a blog post last week. I’m still not sure why. (It might have something to do with getting steamed on Friday night and consequently misplacing Saturday.) OK nothing happened in my writer’s life but that’s never stopped me from turning out a thousand words of forgettable ramblings. So that I don’t miss this week’s deadline I’m writing this one early.

Summer seems to have arrived in Istanbul. It’s hot. I’m in T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops when I’m not working. (I could happily live my life in T-shirts, shorts and flip flops.) The Ministry for Education have issued their yearly decree excusing gentleman teachers from wearing neckties. (That’s not something I can subscribe to. Don’t get me wrong I LOATHE NECKTIES but to go into a classroom without one… well I’d feel almost naked. It’s a professional thing. Yawn.)

I have been busy. I’m still wondering (and worrying) why I can’t find anything to change in Particular Stupidities R&M#5. There are only two possible answers to that: 1) It’s as good as it can be. 2) It’s not but I can’t see why. Maybe just one more look.

I blogged a little while ago about writing a ‘thin’ R&M File. (That’s a short story.) Over the last week I’ve made significant changes to it in line with some comments I got from a reader’s feedback. (I know one person who’s going to groan when they read that. No names – M.) But it’s better for the changes. I think. Something else that needs a fortnight in the ‘manuscript drawer’ and then another look. (It’s getting pretty crowded in there.)

Yesterday, Monday, I was struck with an idea for the opening of Booker & Cash #3. And with the idea came a good title: Waifs and Strays. Despite other pressing writing commitments, I couldn’t resist running off three thousand words for the first chapter and I like it. It’s nice to have a start under the belt, something to pick up when the opportunity presents itself. It was also great to get in touch with Jo and David again. I miss them. I miss Acer too. But I have R&M#6 that I must get back to.

Bottom line: it’s R&M that sell. (Hardly anyone seems interested in Booker & Cash or Acer Sansom these days. [Oh God, that seems like such a melodramatic ejaculation of self-pity. It’s honestly not. I’m trying to be objective. And when I say hardly anyone seems interested what I’m referring to is numbers of monthly downloads. It’s a fact that those two series of mine do not currently warrant the investment of my valuable and limited writing time when one considers the potential returns. {Oh double-God, now listen to me! I’m planning my writing according to statistics and financial returns. Aaaaargh!!!!! I’m just off to punch myself in the face of few times and try to remember why I started writing in the first place.}])

But there is a good reason that I now have to consider these evils. Pretty soon I’m going to be writing for more than just because I enjoy it. More on that in a future post.

Now and again my WordPress stats throw up an interesting gobbet of information. Today my blog has been viewed from Vanuatu – another of those far flung territories that I’ve never heard of. And I bet that 99% of people who hear the name will have the same reaction as me.

The ground floor of the apartment building next door is occupied by a hairdressers. They have an African Grey parrot. Because the weather is fine the bird is outside in its cage during the day. I feel very sad when I see a caged bird. But there is nothing I can do about it. The bird in question makes a lot of noise. The noise is not unpleasant. It doesn’t screech. It continually mimics the calls of other exotic birds it must have had some significant contact with. (The noises don’t resemble anything I’ve heard in Istanbul.) It’s nice to have the window open behind me as I write. I hope the bird is not terribly unhappy.

On reflection, that final paragraph seems a bit allegorical. Am I a caged bird? Aren’t we all?

Caw caw…

12 thoughts on “Vanuatu, Vanuatu, wherefore art thou Vanuatu?

  1. Hello Oliver!
    good to hear from you! You may recall that I used to view your blog from Tonga? Vanuatu is nothing – a sizeable Pacific country compared to where I am writing this and viewing your blog. Where?? The Republic of Palau……….you will need a large scale map of the Pacific to find it!! I am looking forward to the next R&M and I always thought Booker and cash had real depth! all the best Colin Ward

    • Hello Colin
      Good to hear from you. I think it was the first contact from Tonga that got me interested in the various places around the world that my blog is viewed from.
      RoP looks absolutely stunning. (I’ve just romped through a few dozen Google images.) Busıness or pleasure? Thanks for adding another location to my list. 114 different flags of the world for me now. Amazing.
      I hope you find R&M#5 worth the wait.
      Best wishes.
      PS Thanks for your B&C comment.

  2. To wit, to woo. From not such a wise, old owl. I too hate to see birds caged, there are thousands and thousands of finches caged up all over Spain and I think it’s really cruel.
    Right now though, as I don’t have a decent book to read, I am being amused by the antics of a pair of Mynah birds that are living in a coconut tree, right in front of our beach lodge. Yesterday, I was watching a pair of Hornbills and some other free exotic birds, near or on, this tropical Thai beach.
    Wifey was reading, so she is unaware of my new found interests. Although she may have seen me twitching once or twice out of the corner of her eye.
    Take your time with R&M#5 now as it won’t be released in time to save me.

    • Hi Russell
      Naturally, I am seething with jealousy as I prepare to teach 1A the ‘f’ phoneme.
      Rıght now I can think of a few ‘f’ words to express my feeling or my lot compared to yours.
      Enjoy the birds and the beach and the sun and the sea and the… sorry I think I’m going to cry.
      Best wishes.

  3. Hi

    Don’t give up on Booker and Cash, or Acer, they are my favourites. It is a pity more have not picked up on them. B&C have put going back to that area of the UK a top priority on the next trip.

    From sunny New Zealand


    • Thanks, Michael,
      Definitely not giving up on either. I have ideas for both and the desire to write their stories.
      Great to know that you feel the urge to visit Romney Marsh on your next trip.
      My best to the land of the long white cloud. Fond memories of a good year there too long ago.
      Best wishes.

  4. Morning Oliver,

    Funnily enough, this morning I noticed I had my first a hit from Taiwan just after reading your Vanuatu piece. What a coincidence, both from the same neck of the woods, so to speak. I’ve only been on this writing merry-go-round for a year and a half now, and have been totally surprised by the countries that have shown up on my blog. But will confess, now, that like Michael I, too, have a favourite series, and that is the Acer books. But, no worries, I will still keep reading the B&C’s and the R&M’s.

    Best wishes from a wet East Midlands.

    • Hi Pat
      That feature of WP that let’s us see where the hits are coming from is awesome. Isn’t it a great feeling to think that there are people reading our stuff literally all over the world?
      When i’m writing Acer, he’s my favourite. When I’m writing B&C they are my favourite. Guess what’s next…
      Best wishes from sunny and hot Shitstanbul. 🙂

    • Hi Brenda
      I’ll definitely be writing more in all my series. I’m just prioritising with my writing at the moment. I won’t leave the next B&C too long, I hope.
      Best wishes.

    • Hi
      Many thanks for your comment. And thanks too for giving the Acer series a try. As you’ll see, it’s different to the others. I hope you enjoy it.
      Best wishes.

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