New York Icon Stories

I intend this blog to be more personal now I have my website up for the books.

I have been putting off writing about our extended US visit to Virginia and New York City. Now I’ve had time to digest that trip, the next few post will be devoted to those visits. All posts will be brief from now on, as I try to resist my temptation to let the creative juices take control. I’m told blog readers have a very limited attention span for posts! I’m not sure I agree with this social media accepted wisdom – I read all of a post if it’s interesting and can’t believe my literary minded readers are any different, however I will be doing this as a series of short essays rather than a young novel.

 

New York Streets

New York Streets

New York, New York it’s an icon. All the English speaking world knows New York or they think they do. Since birth we have been presented with images both visual and literary of this city. In film, song, books and later, TV, the streetscape are familiar and often better known than our own capital cities so when Brigitte and I had the chance of a week there we were excited and looked forward to seeing , smelling and pounding the sidewalks of this iconic place. We found an apartment for short term rent just off 2nd Ave in the shadow of the UN building. Lets say nothing about that other than it was a great location. The apartment its self was tiny, dirty, ill-equipped and expensive but it served well as a base to explore, mainly on foot.

Our arrival from Newark by bus, left us near Grand Central and we had what I suspect was a typical bad tourist experience with a New York Cab – he ripped us off for a three block journey. I learned quickly that if a cabby says he has no change you say ‘Not my problem’ and do not make the mistake of handing over a twenty for an eight-buck fare! He was gone before I could do anything. On our return to the same bus stop on leaving, we walked or in my case staggered with a suitcase with broken wheels – I thought I’d die! That arrival and departure were the only low points in an otherwise packed week filled with delights and strained necks from all the looking up.

New York was a deluge; a flood of impressions, an overload of stimulation and it left us breathless and excited but at times uneasy. Not fearful, the unease was a philosophical thing. Big cities and the life of big cities with populations much greater than the whole of little Ireland, are a shock to the system. One question kept circulating: “Why do people choose to live here?” There are many possible answers and many of them are based on the income of the people you are considering. Those near the top of the scale can have escape from the hustle and speed and I guess some have bolt-holes elsewhere to go and slow down. But for those in the lower reaches – it seems a grind. A relentless grind to make ends meet and to climb a ladder that may or may not be there in reality.

All cities offer that promise – the promise of an income, a living that does not depend on the weather and the earth and the strength of your back. But all cities also grind up these seekers and trap them and use the big promise to keep them working and supporting the beast – the beast of consumerism that must be fed low income workers to survive. Why do so many people live in New York? I still don’t know the answer.

Next time – a food rant and first impressions of the cultural icons.

Keep Calm, It’s Only Creative Evolution.

Creative DNA

Creative DNA

The process of writing has one characteristic that most writers will know; it evolves over time and can be frustratingly unpredictable in how that evolution plays out.

Sometimes there is the dreaded block as a contrast to the good times when the flow is easy and satisfying. There is the tooth pulling one sentence at a time grind. There is the inspired spark that brings a smile that strengthens the will to write.

This process of change over time can bring fear and worry as we struggle with real or imagined deadlines or try to maintain our daily word count. There is much advice both free and purchased to help us cope but the truth is there is no need for fear or worry. Just accept the changes. Accept the inevitability and indeed the benefits of this evolutionary process.

If one writes formulaic cliche ridden pulp fiction, one can expect to face fewer such changes. Just churn away and try not to hear the whispers of creative guilt nagging in the background.

If one strives and constantly reaches for ever better prose and ever richer depth and imagery, then the evolution will be jerky and at times painful. Fret not, this is as it should be.

Relax and let it happen. Be patient and kind to yourself. Accept the dry days when the words won’t be found and the plot escapes. Don’t panic and cherish the overall desire to keep writing. The flow will come back when it’s good and ready and the imaginative juices that bubble away in the background have done their cooking. Then we will get the smile again.

So keep calm and let evolution work it’s magic.

 

The Midi-venture.

Strangford Narrows

Strangford Narrows

We have three classes of adventure: Mini-venture, Maxi-venture and Midi-venture. A mini is confined to one day. Midis are up to one week and Maxi any more than that. Maxis tend to involve long plane trips and hire cars such as our recent three-week trip to Virginia and New York.

TopplessThis most recent Midi was the first trip in our new toy: A Peugeot 306 Cabriolet that has acquired the name: Prim-pretty-pug. A convertible or soft-top car is the supreme gawping tool here in Ireland – when it’s dry. Too hot and the hood must go up to protect the fair skinned but fortunately too hot isn’t something we do here often.

Cottage and new toy.

Cottage and new toy.

 

 

View of narrows from cottage.

View of narrows from cottage.

We booked three nights in an Airbnb cottage on the shores of Strangford Lough in County Down, Northern Ireland. It proved to be a perfect retreat; comfortable, beautifully located and close to some stunning scenery best viewed from a slow driven Prim-Pug. The weather was mostly kind-we had only one day when the top had to be up.

Audley's Castle on the shore walk.

Audley’s Castle on the shore walk.

Those are the facts: here are the impressions. Continue reading

Hibernation.

Butterfly-03I’ve been in social media hibernation for almost six months. But I’ve emerged from my chrysalis: The Butterfly Effect Trilogy is reborn with a whole new plot line and new energy. This will be my ‘East of Eden’. My big book, my last big push to get all that’s in me, and all I have learned into a big book. (Well, three books but in my mind it’s one 400,000 word body.)

I intend to use my familiar characters Bonny, Lauren and Daniel to scream my indignation at the world. The themes will be huge and will include all the dangers and threats of East v West. Fundamentalism v Rationalism. Individual v State and above all, the tricks and political veil used to blind us will be lifted for any who cares to see. This will not be a political rant – but rather a subtext in an exciting espionage/ romantic/thriller, literary fiction trilogy.

My hibernation was a deliberate decision and enabled me to recover. It was not a health issue but rather one of creative energy .

In February this year I posted about the crisis I suffered and the drastic solution: http://wp.me/p18yK8-rG. I called it ‘Creative Infanticide’; a rather dramatic title admittedly but it was a dramatic moment in my writing life. I threw away an almost complete novel and stopped the ongoing processes for the two that were to follow in the Butterfly Effect Trilogy. Continue reading