On Sadness Fuelling Creativity

It’s not been a great week. I’ve been seeking distractions for much of it, and some of those distractions have ended up becoming good things in themselves, but still the sadness remains when they peter out and it’s time to go home.

So I am sitting here at midday, drinking whisky far too early, because I’m caught between needing to not think, and needing to get it all out through my writing. Long story short, there are people I love who are in pain and not getting the help they need, and I don’t want to lose them.

I just keep thinking if I could write and make others feel something, maybe my loved ones would end up getting the help they need, maybe the propaganda would shift enough to cause change.

I feel hollow.

But there’s nothing I can do but keep on trying. So this week I’ve been forcing endorphins into my system by going to the gym, putting myself in a mental state where I’m able to keep going and keep creating things, and hopefully change things. It’s painful: with my own illness (EDS) I have a few extra obstacles to get over (this week’s stellar one was dislocating my middle finger, which makes writing hard, and which really reminds me I need to invest in a frogpad). The good thing about being where I am now is that I can actually afford these modifications. Others can’t. Anyway.

On Thursday evening I attended my first proper meetup with the Oslo Writer’s League (the OWLs). It was a fantastic evening, and aside from also being another thing to increase my endorphin levels, it was productive and I ended up making new friends. There were so many lovely people there, and so much good, in-depth discussion on various things. Also, turns out I already met one of the members (kind of) at a backstage event when prog guitarist Steve Hackett came to Oslo last year!

The other nice thing that happened this week is I finally received my proof copy of the story I wrote for my little sister Cara. This was meant to be her Christmas present but ended up a little delayed, and due to shipping problems, her final copy arrived in England before my proof one arrived in Norway. But the important thing is, it came out the printing process looking great, and I’ll probably write a separate thing on that.

Other nice things: it’s been cold and snowing a lot, and I love extreme weather. To top that off, the book I got in the writer’s club jackpot was about the first Western man to climb Mount Everest, so totally up my street. And another friend of mine is writing again with enthusiasm, so I’m watching her progress on her awesome fantasy story with great interest!

Behind all of this I’m trying to ignore the scratching dark tones, and get on with my writing. Considering the bad news of this week, which I’m not going into in any detail, I have not been able to handle writing City of Dis. So Nimbus edits is what we’re on. I’m 28k words in to editing, which is not bad, but god, do I just have to keep going.

I will make a fucking difference. For her sake, for all their sakes.

Novel madness – first draft complete!

Yes, you heard that right! One hundred and sixty thousand words and I have completed the first draft of Nimbus. In its plainest form it is a novel about clouds coming to life, a vision of a future flooded Britain. And it’s been a long time coming. I had the first idea for it in 2008, after all.

It began with this phrase that entered my head as I sat idly at work, bored to tears with insurance claims and trying to put it off by looking out the window at the cumulus clouds that passed by;

“The gods came alive, and the clouds started moving – big hulking giants bobbing sedately, purposefully through the sky – and as mere humans on this earth, all we could do was watch.”

And since then it has grown into a behemoth of a tale. I had not started studying geology or meteorology when I began writing the novel, and now, halfway through my geosciences degree, I have been able to pour some scientific awesomeness on it in addition to my usual human-centric fare.

It must have been fate that the theme for Sky Blue started playing on shuffle when I typed the final words of the final chapter. I may have cried a little.

Today, I went to East Wittering to sit in the sun and start proofreading the manuscript (keyboard kindles are awesome for making notes). The clouds were too perfect today, they really added to the mood.

The lovely view from where I sat

So now, to celebrate this milestone I am off to an Italian restaurant where I shall enjoy wine from volcanic vineyards and epic portions of calzone.