It’s week 4 of the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest and it is also the last week of my daily blog before it moves to a new twice-weekly schedule.
The quest this week is to discover what makes us scribblers do it at all? Hmmm – well, I would have to give two separate answers. I write poetry because I want to magnify that small voice that is the essence of life. Most of the time you cannot hear it above the rumblings of lusts, stomachs, diesel engines and the pick and mix dilemma of daily decision. As I have aged the sound has become ever fainter and more distant. These days it is the blurred hiss of the TV sound system between segments of the jangling multi-coloured commercial breaks.
I write Romance because I like sexual passion, travel, wine and drama amongst most other things as well. The sensation of warm sun on my skin, a glow of Bordeaux wine and a long deep kiss of lips and souls that starts to build my desire, is where I want to be mentally all the time. As it is I aim a bus through heavy traffic and shop in Walmart. I am saved by a gorgeous lover. Romance writing is a turn on and is intended to nudge the love nodes of my readers. For me this is fantastic because it gives me too an erotic buzz and allows me to use what I learned about words and moods as a poet, but without the ruthless discipline of poetry and short stories. If I combine my two responses it would be in saying that I write because I love words and words of love are the writing of our emotional DNA.
I have chosen a passage from my novel “Knockout!” when the lovers are spending the night in Paris. They have dined and become engaged that evening. Both Anna and Freddie know that huge forces beyond their rapture are hurtling in. At stake are their lives – or worse – their love.
That night they made love tenderly, without urgency or complication, reaching out to each other like the roots of two seeds blown by chance and interwoven as one. At around midnight they lay touching hands in the moonlight. The window was a little open and admitted sounds from the street. In the distance voices and traffic spoke the muffled language of other lives. Somewhere close by in another apartment a sad saxophone played reflective moody late night jazz. If there had ever been a moment when she would have stopped time it would have been then – in the mellow moments of their after-love and their before-life.
The great River Seine rippled and pushed on to the sea as the sun tip-toed the back stairs of the world climbing towards dawn across Paris. Maybe the morning light would never uncover two lovers hiding within the protection of each other’s arms…
I would like to add my thanks to Juliana for hosting this blogfest. It has been a marvellous opportunity for me to encounter so many other writers. I know this kinda stuff is hard and eats time and so I wish you now a little peace and poetic space.
Tonight as I drove my route, the setting sun was a cold red disc in a sky of cruel blue. The kids were singing along to Rihanna’s “We found love in a hopeless place”. A particular lad always wants to sit next to me. He pointed at the volume control to indicate he wanted to pump it up. I pumped it up as a V formation of rooks passed across the void of space and we sang, bopping about in our seats. For just a moment I really felt the lonely turn of our planet in the cold indifference of the cosmos and heard it filled with defiance and a kind of love. The lad cannot speak.
Emma thinx: A beautiful second will fill all time.
For Juliana: WFPF 4xposts plus 4xtweets = 24 ?
At last I have got down to the Warm Fuzzies trial by keyboard. If you are not a cognoscenti, the mission is to talk about the story arc of the Main Character of your Work in Progress. Well, I can’t really do that because the WIP is not simply a fiction although it does have a main character. As a writer I believe I am what is known as a pantser. This is not purely lack of planning but a deliberate gift of freedom. Most of my stuff has been self edited to the bin and the rest has sat in the slush pile until it melted with the Spring sun. So – please excuse me talking about the main character of my short story “Sub Prime”.
Now this tale was written in my heart for many years after I had had the experiences described. When I presented it to a magazine competition it won the prize but they refused to publish it (Publication was actually the prize plus £50), because it could upset advertisers. Two of the judges clashed over the issue in my presence. One was a T.S. Eliot prize winner and the other an acclaimed author. I felt like the mouse in the herd of elephants. This experience changed my whole view of writing and in fact more or less finished my serious career ambition. It was the chance of a major breakthrough and no one was allowed to see it. (Thanks to Indie publishing it is now out there). I think it was then that the Romance writer was born. I love sex, passion, intensity and joy in my own life and I make no bones about it. Some writers are fantastic writers. I am just a being with a pen. Writing Romance is a turn on and reading it should fix you up a bit if you need a fix. However, I digress. By chance during a low ebb of my fortunes I came across the world of casual labour and illegal immigration which amounts to modern day slavery. The main character is a male, a tough guy who drives a truck until he is thrown out of work. As Christmas approaches he gets the chance of some cash and finds that maybe he ain’t so tough. He has to confront the matter of his own inner strength and finds himself humbled by someone far weaker. More humbling still is the generosity of the human spirit and the hopelessness of those without power. All I can say of this little story is that it makes me cry even today. If you fancy a look at it it’s FREE. I would only ever give it away although Amazon list it with a price so do not buy it there. You can get it FREE here on
Smashwords with audio. It is formatted for kindle, nook, apple, EPUB, kobo, pdf for PC or Mac.
In my life I have made a few faux pas. I have cocked it up, gone off on one, grabbed the shitty end of the stick and undoubtedly taken the biscuit. Today was a milestone in contemporary embarrassment. The bus company put me on a new route as a guest act. Because the kids were younger with very challenging behaviour I had an escort who was kind and lovely. This evening as we arrived at the school she warned me that one of our passengers was difficult and needed to be firmly advised that no misconduct would be tolerated. I saw the obvious passenger approaching flanked by two staff. The lad looked about 20 with bleached spikey hair and and bellowing a rock song while playing a violent air guitar. OK – I had to be firm.
“You’ll have to pipe down on the bus and sit quietly,” I demanded, standing aggressively in his personal space.
“I’ll remember that if I need to travel,” he replied.
I heard a shriek from the escort.
“Not him! that’s the headmaster,” she shouted.
Well, as you get older everyone looks so young. Apparently he was doing something for charity.Teachers and important people are a problem for me.
Emma thinx: Most people’s problems are people.
PS. Juliana WFBF 3 posts =15, 3 tweets = 3, Total 18?
So, this is my second week at the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest. The mission is to give a clue about what we scribes are working on. The above photo will tell you so much about my work in progress that actually it’s hardly worth writing the book. My dear manager Rosina, tells me that there are more than enough books about transvestite stationery salesmen and that the genre is worn out. She is a bit of a tree book nostalgoid to be honest. ( Remember the days when the big six dinosaurs used to rule the world and they ripped down all the trees so that there were only 20 literosaurus wrecks who were allowed to have paper to write on). However, if the book is not what she thinks then you guys are bound to be able to work it out, post your guess in the comments below…
As for inspiration and music whilst writing, my own requirement is actually nothing but silence, some kind of neutral middle distance to stare into and coffee. I need at least an hour to think down to the kind of depth I want to be at. I don’t want any distractions and I can be absolutely horrid to seekers of keys, bicycle pumps, menu suggestions and telephone sales-slaves. If I’m writing about a kiss I want to be a warm lip. If I’m in the street I want to hear the sounds. When I was a serious poet I used to think for weeks about what my subject was like – you know – what does a meadow mean?
Dear Oh dear – too much “I am an ARTIST” stuff. I have had far more immediate concerns today – particularly regarding tattooed breasts. Two ladies whom I encounter during my bus driverly duties have tattooed orbs. One of them wears her breasts au sauvage under a low necked vest. I can see that some kind of toothed serpent is rising from somewhere around her nipple and I must confess to an immense curiosity about the rest of the design – I mean is there a basket and a guy with a flute down there somewhere? I really don’t like to stare or ask. The other lady is something of an official figure and wears an important green luminous jacket. On sunny days a smudgy blue bouquet peeks out searching for warmth and photosynthesis. I can’t imagine there is a hidden flower tub or vase can you?
Now, I know that men would only want me for my mind and soul, but I do wonder if cleavaged tattooed breasted women become offended if males allow their eyes to break away from intellectual and emotional eye contact now and then. A while ago a friend sent me an intriguing photo from Japan. If you can’t bear the thought of the needle and ink but you want to catch the eye, these revolutionary scarves might help.
Emma thinx: Look up and you can see two thousand stars. Look in and you can see everything beyond.
For Juliana at WFBF: 2 posts on Twitter = 2 points?
Now, today is a slight departure from my normal approach. Generally I just blog away to my readers on any subject that comes to hand. Most of the time I’m not sure if I’m a bus driver, a Romantic novelist or just a slightly dotty old Doris with a fantasy literary life. The fact is that for the moment I drive a bus and I have written Romantic short stories and a Romantic novel that is selling quite well. My home is in France but for a short while I am living and working in the UK. Today I am back in France and as I strolled through the beautiful streets of my little town this morning I was thinking about my project which is to do a blog for Julia Brandt’s “Warm Fuzzies Blog Fest”. The subject to be approached is that of “Do you tell people you are a writer and what are their responses?” Just as this thought was hurtling around the empty space of my mind I came across a snail climbing a very long hill. I took a photo and it is posted above. The Great spirit of Happenstance and Inspiration touched my shoulder and I saw at once the situation of the writer: that slow climb to who knows where, dragging that shell of isolation across the pitiless tarmac of everyday life.
Yes, these days I do sometimes tell people I am a writer. However, I’m careful who I tell. I do not tell fellow bus drivers. Most would reply “Well, I’m glad to hear it cos you’re pretty poor at driving a bus.” It’s true I did break a mirror doing a reverse park and since I’m a woman it will NEVER be forgotten. I do tell a few posh middle class people in England. The responses are usually polite but flippant…”Wow – that’s so cool. I’m gonna do a really sooooper book myself soon. I hope you don’t do that stuff all about billionaires and sex in Paris. That is just so sad yah! It’s kinda like for people who need cheap escape and stuff and buy those awful supermarket books with hero torso on the cover yah.” When you are a something like a bus driver, people like to keep you in a safe slot. My partner Gilles is kinda posh French and has a well paid corporate job. A bus driver who is a published poet and prize winning writer just jangles a bit so I usually don’t say anything. Gilles enjoys the sport and usually blabs something. A few years ago I won the town Literary Festival prize. It was all very public but you know – no one ever said a thing to me. I was a bus driver – NOT a poet. If anyone ever read the poem, no one ever said.
Even more years back I was living in a fairly run down part of South London. My ex husband had been a truck driver and I did whatever temp work could fit in with bringing up kids. I entered a Christmas short story competition in a newspaper. My entry was “Sub Prime” and was based on real events from my life. If you are reading this blog you can get it free here (for every kind of e-reader device). There is also a link for the audiobook version.
A couple of weeks later, the judge – a nationally acclaimed poet and writer called me to say that she was so sorry that the paper could not publish it, but that it had won the prize. She went on to explain that the content was too gritty and could upset advertisers. All the same as a consolation they published a feature about me with a photo. I had entered the competition as Millie Webb. I hoped that no one would know it was me. A few days later a neighbour tersely remarked “Bit posh ain’t ya – writin’ stories.” I told them it was all a bit of a joke. It was sad that no one was able to read the story because they would have seen that it was on the side of working class people. As it was they just thought I was getting above myself. I never ever ever EVER told anyone I was a poet.
So that deals with the two social class poles in the UK. My lovely neighbours in France know I’m a writer because they tend to wander in and find me writing. France is a different society that views “artists” as normal. They do have slight social class/wealth issues but in any event I’m foreign and free.
The other group is of course FAMILY. My own children are completely and utterly embarrassed by the whole thing. I would talk about it but I think they would run out of the room with hands over their ears screaming. I am a parent. They know I write about sex and lust and they just could not reconcile themselves to me knowing anything other than not mixing up the coloured and the whites in the washing machine. I think I would have been the same with respect to my own parents.
These days the writer is visible public property. In some ways I think that the taciturn snail is most likely to produce the best work. Most snails play the whole thing down and tell folk they’re a slug with a carbuncle issue.
Emma thinx: Know where you got lost. Finding yourself starts there.