Named: The Sixth Romney and Marsh File.
Inflamed: a fitness instructor.
Acclaimed: that’s him up top.
Read on to find out more.
It’s been a good week for me: me the writer, me the born again fitness freak, me the solitary person.
The Halfling started school on Monday so I’ve been responsibility free throughout the days. That’s been good for all three of me (the writer, the born again fitness freak and the solitary person).
I finally gave the sixth Romney and Marsh File a name – Unhappy Families. It works and it fits. But I don’t know how the cover designer is going to get the R&M Files signature effect into the typography. Not my problem.
Then I gave it a couple of read-throughs. A bit of tweaking here and there. Next job is to get it printed off somewhere. (How I miss school sometimes.) Then I’ll give it some read-throughs with the highlighter pens. I like that bit.
Then when I’m as happy as I can be I’ll send it off to my gentleman friend for some proofreading and editing suggestions. And forget about it for a while.
Last Wednesday I started my next book. Surprise, surprise – R&M #7. It’s started well. I’m twenty-thousand words in with lots of places to go in my head and lots to write. And I have a title. It’s a good one. I just have to make the book fit it. If I can’t I’ll change the title, not the book.
I’m reflecting on how it’s been this week, the first week of living the writing life. OK, actually. Sitting on my backside all day, drinking tea and making stuff up seems to suit me. But I am mindful that I’ve got to get out and about from time to time. The school run (walk) morning and afternoon helps. And, as mentioned before, I’ve joined a gym. I’m getting into that. I just hope I haven’t spoiled things for myself there.
There are two types of men who visit the gym: those who can’t get enough of looking at themselves in the walls of mirrors and those who, like me, spend all our session trying to avoid our reflections.
I found a real running top in the back of the wardrobe last week. I’ve been wearing it at the gym in the hope that I can get a faster time on the treadmill for my warm up run. (A bit like racing stripes on a boy-racer’s car and about as effective.)Trouble is the top is a bit tight and the material has started chaffing. I’ve run off and on for the last thirty years but this is the first time in my life I’ve suffered with jogger’s nipple. It is excruciatingly painful and quite distracting when one is engaged in the act of running, even on the spot on a treadmill. (Why does that seem like such a waste of time?)
When I got off the treadmill today at the end of my regular 100 metres jog my right nipple really was sore. I needed to check it out so I slipped into one of the empty side rooms. As luck would have it just as I was preparing to investigate, one of the fitness coaches entered in search of something. (All the fitness instructors down there are big, beefy and hirsute, especially the men.) He saw me in obvious discomfort and using signs and body language asked if I was OK. I shook my head. But not knowing how to communicate my problem I lifted up my shirt and pointed to my nipple. In a bid to make him understand I used a finger to gently caress it. Because it was sore I was unable to stop myself from making noises associated with the sharp intaking of breath. I might also have moaned.
His expression changed from professional concern to something a lot darker and more personal. He stormed out muttering and slammed the door making the glass in the windows rattle. It didn’t occur to me until he’d left that my performance could be misinterpreted. Pleasure and pain, like other extremes such as love and hate are often confused. (If I see him in the communal showers I’ll turn my back on him. [Maybe that’s not such a good idea.])
I kept my head down when I left. I just hope he’s forgotten all about it by Monday. Ah, Monday when everyone’s back at work and school. I can’t wait.
I think it never hurts to get a reminder, some reinforcement, of the basics of a trade in which one is working. It’s a well known maxim in the writing trade that writers need to read. I had my reminder of that this week.
I got my hands on two books recently that I’ve been looking forward to reading: The Martian by Andy Weir – Hollywood blockbuster movie out now – and The Moving Target the first in the Lew Archer series of detective novels by Ross MacDonald.
I started with The Martian. I packed that in after about 10%. I’m not saying it isn’t a great book (I can’t after only 10%) but the writing didn’t grab me. I will try it again sometime.
I went straight onto The Moving Target and immediately understood what The Martian had been missing for me. Cracking dialogue, superbly and economically drawn characters (The operator was a frozen virgin who dreamed about men at night and hated them in the daytime.), descriptive language that, like Chandler, is so concise and perfect, and fast moving plot. Every line was a joy to read. A pleasure.
I’m not comparing the books. They are so different in concept that they can’t be compared. I understand the limitations of having one man on Mars. I just didn’t enjoy reading about it.
The reinforcement I got from reading MacDonald was the need in my line of writing country to aim to write more like him.
I have a lot of time for that era of American fiction: Raymond Chandler, John D MacDonald and now my new discovery. I hope all the Lew Archer novels are as good because there are quite a few of them. I’m interested to find more authors of that time and place.
(PB: 10k – 42.30.)