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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

PROGRESS REPORT #54: AT A STANDSTILL

MYKONOS SUNSET

I've been busy working on a couple of assignments for Planet Eye lately, as well as trying to post a few pieces for The Vancouver Guide and catch up with blogging. Unfortunately this means my time for writing on SHADOW has been badly depleted. And not only that, I seem to be lacking the inspiration and incentive to really discipline myself to get back into it.

So tonight I looked back over some emails I've recieved in the past from one of my writer heros, Steven Pressfield, and here's what he told me some time ago when I had just started on the last lap of the journey:


"... the end is always the hardest. Resistance really rears its ugly head. I heard a great phrase the other day to describe that feeling -- 'escape velocity'. It's from "The Artist's Way" and what it means is that, like a satellite trying to break from from gravity and earth's orbit, the last few miles per hour require an expenditure of rocket fuel WAY PAST normal. So hang tough, baby! What's you're experiencing is just what every other artist goes through at this point. "

Just reading this right now has given me a boost. I need to be around friends (like the ones I have in Athens) who enjoy talking about the book, inquiring about it, discussing Alexander's world with me. That gets me motivated more than anything. But Steve's words also are a great motivator.

NAXOS SUNSET

I was supposed to read at my Scribbler's group last night but didn't get any time to do the revisions on the last chapter that I need to do before progressing. Instead, I found a few pages of my old novel "Dragons In the Sky: A Celtic Tale" and I read that. Wow! I hadn't read any of it for literally years, aside from the introduction, and the words just sang to me. It's sheer poetry. I was amazed. And that in itself is incentive to finish SHADOW so that I can go back and finish "DRAGONS".
SANTORINI SUNSET

And I found an encouraging horoscope for myself today too:
"You have way more going for you than you realize. Your hard work will pay off and even your worst critic will have to back down and honor what you have been able to accomplish. The sky is the limit if you focus on achieving your goals."

Now, isn't that enough to light a fire under your bum and get you focused and back into your serious work? At least I know that the time I took off to write all those hotel and destination blurbs for Planet Eye have paid off monetarily big-time which pleases me. It wasn't as if I was 'wasting time' or deliberately ignoring SHADOW. It was a chance to make up the money I lost by having my July classes canceled. And I did it! So now, for the rest of the summer I should be able to relax, concentrate on the novel and take myself back into Alexander's world.

Watch for updates here soon!


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Monday, July 06, 2009

MEMORIES


FULL MOON RISING OVER PHILOPAPPOU HILL, ATHENS

I'm back, with memories of a month well-spent in England, Wales and Greece. It's been difficult readjusting to my own culture, the climate, the pace of life here which is so different, especially from my other life in Greece. I can't say I've felt happy about being back, even unhappier when I found out that the classes I was supposed to teach during July (for which I'd cut my trip to Greece short!) had been cancelled. Looking on the good side of this is, it gives me more time to get back at my serious writing (finish Shadow!) and allows me a bit of time to do other things during the week, such as accept invitations from friends to go to one of the Gulf Islands on a camping trip.

It's been a busy time since I returned as well. There were friends' birthday celebrations, Greek Summer Festival and the Jazz Festival events to attend. This week things are slowing down. And it's raining! (what else is new here on the wet coast! (They keep telling me how warm it was while I was away -- yeah -- a heat wave. Well, I left Greece in 35 C temperatures and have not been amused to find it well below the 20's here since I got back. So much for Coastal 'heat waves'.) Went to the beach yesterday -- too cold to swim in the sea and to chilly to hang out at poolside trying to replentish my tan which is quickly fading. Oh, grumble, grumble!




TWILIGHT OVER THE AEGEAN, NAXOS

Anyway, you will soon see what I left behind me, (as I intend to catch up on the travel blogs I did not have time to post while on the road being a tour guide for my sister and niece). I have many photos too, and if you happen to be on Facebook you might view a few of my albums. Or you'll get glimpses of them here.

Now here's an interesting thing about 'returning'...my mind is chock full of ideas, memories (old and new) and thoughts about things in general. And just like your good old computer, your memory tends to get far too full. So you have to clean it out and start fresh, or at least clear out the space for new thoughts and ideas.

I have a lot of writing to do now. Especially I have to pick up the threads of Shadow where I left off and resume the work on the last few chapters. I've also been thinking a bit about my other novel which I wish to return to work on once Shadow is done. Besides that, I have been mind-boggled by stuff here -- You always notice more clearly what's going on when you've been away for awhile, and frankly I just can't stand some things I see going on here. I want to be back in my Greek space. My whole life changes the minute I arrive there and then I go into culture shock when I return.

Well, the other evening I attended an excellent concert at the Jazz Festival: Hugh Fraser quintet and Chucho Valdez quartet. (I saw them both play in Havana a few years ago so I'm a fan.) As I sat there alone in my seat and let the music wash over my, I found my mind become completely absorbed and carried away. Thoughts kept spinning by, everything from scenes of Shadow to current events to long ago traumatic memories. But they were going by quickly, as if my brain was 'purging' all the unnecessary thoughts much like you clean out your computer memory. Afterwards, when the conert was finished (and it was a fantastic concert!) I felt somewhat more relaxed and renewed. I realized I had to clear out the clutter of my mind before I could settle down to serious writing again.

Yesterday I headed for the park and beach. I took time to walk around through the flower gardens and then went for my swim in the pool. It was too chilly to sit around 'tanning' so I took my picnic lunch to a table by the beach and sat quietly perusing all the notes I'd made for the next chapter of Shadow before I'd left on my trip. Then I walked the sea wall and ended up at another park looking for friends at the out-door jazz festival events. No luck. So I came home and had a quiet evening: a ride in my friend's BMW - top down, cool! -- icecream on the Drive -- and then home again to sort through my new thoughts and ideas, look at my photos and recall the happy memories of my holidays.

Today, it's time to start writing again. So I have begun by writing this blog. And next I'll start on the travel blogs. And then I will begin the next chapter of Shadow. My summer of writing is beginning with a clean slate. I'm not going to let anything interupt it.



SANTORINI SUNSET


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