Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Positively Negative, or something...

I just dumped a number of blog posts in my Unused Blogs file for the same reason many others are there – too miserable and negative. Now I shall try to be positive because, it often is a matter of choice. Depression can be at a point where you can choose whether to sink lower or pull yourself up by your bootstraps and so it is with grief. I can continue chewing on my own liver by hauling up horrible images and memories for my inspection, or I can choose to deny them and think positively. Hang on, this is getting miserable again. Stop now. Smile.

So, Transformation II or Factory Station Room 101 (provisionally) has winged its way off to Macmillan. After that, being positive (this was two weeks ago) I opened up a file called ‘Dr Whip’ which I again read through (and no, this is not a short story destined for the pages of Spanking Weekly). Here is another weird character who had a nasty encounter with Penny Royal. He appeared in the first book along with that character Tuppence who appears in my story The Other Gun (Asimov’s). I removed both of these completely from the book, which I guess demonstrates that I do that editorial thing of killing my babies. Asmodeus Whipple had a nasty encounter with Penny Royal and has undergone, and is still undergoing, a transformation...


Sorry to be negative again, but I just could not summon up enough interest in it to continue. Still too soon I guess. I turned then instead to Transformation III or Spear & Spine (provisionally) and started editing my way through that. I suspect that with the new publishing schedule of my books of January to February I’ll be sending that in a year before it’s due.

In other news it seems I am now addicted to kayaking. Only yesterday, I took the thing from Revans in Makrigialos up opposite a restaurant called the Kariotsina at the far end of Koutsouras, then later took it in the opposite direction to a beach called Lagada. Those of you who don’t know this place won’t know what I’m talking about, but suffice to say it was a good few miles. This was all after my ‘big swim’. I’m now wondering whether I can go to all three extremes in one day: the two kayak runs above, my three-quarters of a mile swim, all after a morning walk of about eight miles. Of course the problem with this is that I won’t get much else done and will spend most of the rest of the day comatose on my sofa here.

It is now September and a crappy one for Crete too and, despite the above, I am not spending loads of time at the beach. I dump my stuff by a sun bed but don’t spend much time on the thing. I sit in Revans bar, but am not boozing till darkness. I drink fruit juice and piss about on Facebook and Twitter via the internet connection there – a pastime with limited appeal. I have therefore started Greek lessons again.

In English there are average word counts that differ for people’s speaking, reading and writing vocabularies. I’m not sure what it is for the first of these but, in Greek, I’m sure I’ve learned many more words. Sure, there are big gaping holes in my knowledge but if I could actually use the words I do know I’d have a fair shot at conversational Greek. To that end, the lessons Anna is giving me are slanted towards speaking and grammar. At present, she writes out a page long text for me in English. She reads out a sentence to me at a time, which I write down (so I don’t forget it) then speak in Greek, with her correcting me along the way. This takes up half to three-quarters of the lesson, whereupon she starts hitting me with various phrases in English that I then have to translate – testing all my weak points. Afterwards she hands over the English text and my homework is to translate it into written Greek.

Maybe, one day, I’ll translate all of Gridlinked into Greek and get it published here. That’s if I’m still capable when I’m 86.   

Monday, September 01, 2014

Lazy Weekend

Saturday 30/8/2014

I decided to take this weekend off, but not in the usual sense one would suppose. There have been very few days since February 8th, two days after Caroline’s cremation, when I haven’t gone on very long walks. Then, into the spring and summer, swum or kayaked long distances, or some combination of these three. Now I’m starting to feel a little weary. I also had a quandary to ponder, a need to take stock, a need to distance myself from that jaded feeling I’ve started to get down at the beach, and I also needed get some things done. One of these was finishing my edit of Factory Station Room 101. The other was to sort some paperwork for my tax return, because the Inland Revenue is not noted for its patience whether dealing with the bereaved or otherwise.

So, this morning I was up at 6.30 and at 7.30 headed out on a 6.5 mile walk through the mountains. Obviously, something about the idea of taking a rest from exercise had escaped me. Next, I went shopping in Sitia because when I found myself having boiled sweet corn for breakfast the day before I thought maybe it was time to restock the fridge. After packing this lot away, I ate a meal of salad and frankfurter wraps, then I fell asleep on the sofa for two hours.


It took me a further two hours to get motivated and finish those final bits of the second Transformation book. As you read this is should be sitting in Bella Pagan’s inbox. I then sorted through a drawer full of receipts to find the relevant ones for the tax man, and hopefully I’ll get all that stuff completed ready to file my tax return online, which is of course going to be a joy.

I am determined to take it easy tomorrow and not going schlepping up to those wind turbines again, or do any other form of heavy exercise. If anything, I’ll do a bit of light gardening. Let’s see how long this resolution lasts if it’s hot and still and I start comparing my need to sort out my taxes to kayaking along the Cretan coast or swimming in the Libyan Sea.

Sunday 31/8/2014

Minutes of the Committee for Autonomic Function
Hey look, we really like what you’ve been doing with the old organism. It’s looking the best it has in fifteen to twenty years and it’s doing stuff we never thought would be possible. I mean, constant exercise as a response to trauma ... well, we didn’t see that coming. The expectation here amongst us was that you’d just load the organism with cigarettes, alcohol and bacon sandwiches. Well, you quit feeding it alcohol, at least for a while, and those ecigs were a great move. As for the food intake ... well the cut in input of carbohydrates came as a shock to us but, as the fat dwindled, we saw that you’d made the right decision again. However, I’m sorry, enough is enough. Yes, you’re keeping up the exercise but there have been injuries. You yourself have admitted that the organism requires periods of rest so committee members can get on with some repairs. And, let’s be frank here, you’ve strayed back into trying to use alcohol as a mental analgesic and method of end-of-the-day shutdown, and it’s been a failure. Alcohol-induced insomnia is hindering the repair teams. And when we check for the required materials for repairs all we seem to be finding is empty alcohol calories. You, of course, know all this and this weekend promised to keep the organism at home so we could service it. Yet, what was the first thing you did on Saturday morning? You took it for a 6.5-mile walk. I’m sorry but this was plainly just aberrant and destructive behaviour. Therefore, we of the committee are enforcing inactivity and sleep interspersed with periods of high stomach and colon activity. And you, Brain, you we are shutting down.

It’s been an interesting day and another one of those ‘the body demands’ times. I was up at 6.00 whereupon I ate a breakfast of three boiled eggs and six slices of toast. After that I fell asleep for two or more hours, couldn’t get myself moving properly until 10.00 whereupon I ate a load of salad and frankfurter wraps. I then fell asleep for another hour or so, was sluggish for another hour after that, then ate some more wraps and fell asleep again. Next, I finally got myself motivated to do some cooking and put together a Swedish meatball stew and ate two bowls full of that. Thus far, at 6.30, there’s been no sign of Dr Narcolepsy creeping up behind me.

I only have myself to blame. I’ve been exercising excessively, not eating properly and drinking too much. Mr Insomnia has been with me most nights and, let’s be frank here, Messrs Beer, Wine and Raki opened the door for him. All this needs to change ... apart from the exercising excessively bit.

However, on the good news front: I sorted out all my receipts and then, upon checking my tax form discovered that now I file my return online I don’t have to do so until January. It was quite pleasing to chuck the whole lot back in a drawer. Fuck that shit.