Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Extra-curricular summertime activities of the author

If things have been a bit quiet on this blog recently, it's not because I have fallen off the world. I went to one of the inspirations for the Wild Hunt, the Le Mans 24 Hours race and since then have been making the most of what is turning out to be a fantastic summer.

This was the view from my sleeping bag of a morning - that's the Morgan of mate Al parked in the Houx campsite within the circuit and in the distance are the tribunes around the start and finish line.

Everyone was there because they were enthusiasts and we had a great time enjoying the atmosphere together. I felt very much like this during my time in this year's Land's End Trial.

Of course, what I should have been doing at Easter was promoting the launch of The Wormton Lamb for this was published on the Easter Saturday but this was the very day that I was making my almost triumphant ascent of Blue Hills near St Agnes. At Le Mans I should have been promoting the Engine Punk thing and networking with everyone, telling me who I am and what I write. Maybe one day. Sometimes it seems to happen naturally but at others I seem to be foisting myself on people. I reckon this could alienate them so I go with the flow and if it feels good I network like a loon and if it doesn't I do something else. Like enjoy the competitive spirit and great company. And the rolling sculpture.

When it comes to writing -- whether it’s books or blocks -- I find that it is a seasonal activity. When it's raining outside, which it did for much of last summer, it's easy to put together a website or a blog or a book when it's sunny outside I feel I must pursue some of my other interests. Good weather makes me feel wealthy in all sorts of non-monetary ways and I like to spend such wealth wisely. I also like to spend my good weather when ever I have the opportunity to spend it. Good weather is not like money, which can be spent many times over, but is more like time, which can only be spent once. There will be plenty of opportunities to write when there are no opportunities to build sheds, weld cars, paint cars, play with motorcycles, travel and socialise with friends while the sun is shining.

There have been a couple of other factors that have mitigated against blogging.

Late at night, when I am most likely to get my blogging muse, the Internet seems much less reliable than at other times of the day. The UK government is winding itself up over broadband speeds but, from what I can make out, there are many occasions where the Internet is simply not available. I know I live in a very rural area but I don't think you should make a difference. At the moment I'm having to dictate this blog entry into Word in anticipation of the Blogger website becoming available again.

The other obstacle to regular blogging is the ongoing lack of a proper workstation. I have no desk, just one dining room chair, a cordless keyboard, my Dragon voice recognition software and my screen. The ergonomics of this combination are not good. After about five minutes, I start to ache, no matter how interesting the subject matter, and after harping on about the importance of well-designed workstations on this very same blog I am only a little closer to solving this problem. However, I have ordered very nice plywood that, after a short interval, will metamorphosise into a splendid wraparound tabletop. I already have the executive leather chair but this hasn't emerged from its box yet or been assembled.

A forthcoming but short term lack of blog entries can be ascribed to me addressing these issues but disturbing the snake pit of all these cables and wrestling with a wireless connection again as I move my workstation upstairs will be a steadying step backwards before a giant leap forwards -- even if I do go off-line for a while.

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