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Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Writing


I've been writing a lot over the last couple of weeks, although I haven't yet achieved my target of 1000 words a day, which equals 3 novels a year of  roughly 120,000 words each.  Although I have high hopes of reaching that target soon, as I settle down to retirement.  Even what I have written does mean that I have been able to post a new Majorca Flats episode almost every day.  It's gratifying to see my readers returning.  You've been very patient.  Thank you.

I've almost reached the end of Majorca Flats.  Perhaps another 20 episodes, and then we will have the climax that I've been planning since quite early on.  Not that there aren't several strands to the story--my characters insisted--but this was an important thread.  A gay serial killer, driven to his crimes by internalised homophobia and rape as a boy, entering, and never really leaving the lives of my people.  I wanted to write a story where even those who suffered most from life have hope and find someone to love.  And I wanted it to be convincing.  Happy-ever-after stories need to have the angst and sorrow and suffering but they also need to have convincing pathways out of these situations.  I don't know whether I've done that.  I suspect I will change a lot when I rewrite it.

It will be very strange finishing the tale of these friends and their families in and around a late 19th century Melbourne Victorian Terrace.  When I write, the characters in my novel become my friends, my acquaintances.  I know them.  They tell me in no uncertain terms, no, I'd never do that, or are you crazy? or c'mon, give me a break!  So I shall miss them.

I might go back to do a second volume, but not yet.  I have so many other stories, some requiring rewriting and some requiring just writing--the first draft isn't even done!  I think I will start with ElvenSword.  That was the first novel I wrote, and they say you should write your first novel and then throw it away, because it's with your first novel that you learn the basics of your craft.  I didn't throw it away and perhaps I should have.  Anyway, it needs intensive rewriting, more than any other of my novels.

Here is a list of my novels, some completed, some unfinished, and some needing rewriting:

I Get No Kick From Champagne
Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
Majorca Flats
The Music Of Love
Dragon's Gift

Nine altogether.  I had no idea I'd written so much, even without counting the short stories.

As I redo each chapter of ElvenSword and DemonThrong, and as I finish AngelFire, I will post the new or rewritten chapter to my website (the WordPress one).  I'll let y'all know here on this blog, and on my website, and on my groups when I do post a new chapter.

One thing I've worried about is whether I have too much sex in my stories.  To be honest, sex scenes are hard to write, at least for me. The pathway between being turned on and finding it silly or risible or just dull is narrow.  However,  sex is a central part of our lives.  Not writing about it is to accept the religious narrative that it is somehow wrong or dirty, and it most emphatically is not.  It's OK to write about murder (Dorothy Sayers or Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh, for example) but not about sex.  Yet we all have sex, often (well I hope we all do!) but none of us has murdered any one.  Sex and sexual attraction is a central part of our lives.

I knew that my sex scenes, especially the gay ones or threesomes would consign my books to one small shelf in the bookshop, even the virtual one, but I felt it would go against my principles not to write them.  Yet recently I read C S Pacat's trilogy--Captive Prince, Prince Rising, King's Gambit--which received rave reviews and were satisfying reads.  The sex in this trilogy is explicit and gay, and she's been published by Penguin, no less.  She's also a Melbourne writer like me.  So I've decided that my sex scenes will be fine.  Things have changed a lot since I began writing, fourteen or fifteen years ago.  The little niche I inhabited hasn't quite expanded to a cavern.  But it's surely bigger than it was.  Even so, I shall probably write less explicit sex scenes in future if only because they take much longer than anything else.

Anyway: there you are.  I'm writing, and I will be writing more.  Thank you all for being so patient over the last five years.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The first day of the rest of my life

This was a saying from the 60s and 70s.  'Today is the first day of the rest of your life.'  It meant that you can start afresh every day.  So what if hitherto your life hasn't been a success?  No matter: you can begin again.  So what if you had a miserable childhood?  The rest of your life awaits you.  You might have better luck in future.

Well, today is the first day of my retirement.  My head is filled with plans of things to do, things that I stopped doing while I was working because it wasn't possible to concentrate on doing my job properly and also do all the other things that interest me.  I often think about the characters in and the plot and dialogue of the story I'm working on.  When I was at my job, I had to think hard about the job, thinking about the state of markets and what would happen to them.  I didn't have the time or the energy to also think about writing.

But there were other things I used to do too, when I had more energy.  I played the clarinet and saxophone, I exercised, I was full of bounce and oomph, I was thin.  So I will be getting back into all these things.  The days of stress, worrying myself sick about investment returns and getting markets right, are over.  And I feel wonderful!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Toxic masculinity

Elliott Harvey blinded in one eye by a homophobic attack (Source)

A man is blinded in one eye in an attack in a Melbourne night club.  Why?

Mr Harvey said he went to the Rubix on Phoenix Street on Friday, May 26, to watch a band. As he was going into the venue "some aggressive young guys" walked past him.

"I think they particularly disliked my hair cut, having my hair up in a fountain like this," he said, pointing to his ponytail.

"All the things they said to me were pretty trivial, just homophobic insults."

The three men, believed to be aged in their 20s, punched him to the ground, and then continued to punch his head and right eye.

"It was cowardly really ... I was on the ground when they punched my eye out," he said.

"I was just wondering where my eye had gone, I couldn't see out of my right eye, that's a pretty alien feeling."

Mr Harvey was taken to hospital in a taxi after the attack and has had several operations since. Nothing has restored his eyesight.

"I had a laceration to my right eye which has been sewn back up," he said.

"A couple of days later they reattached my retina to the back of my socket, which has restored very little sight. It's all just touch and go at the moment."

The injuries mean that Mr Harvey, an environmental conservationist, cannot work.

"It's drastically affected my life," he said.

"I can't work because I can't drive, but also depth perception has a lot to do with walking through undulating forests.

"I can't really go surfing because of the glare.

"A lot of the things that make me happy are pretty sad right now."

[Read the original report here]

 I was blinded in one eye by a homophobic attack at school.  And yes, it makes lots of things very difficult.

Mr Macho Men, so afraid of their own gay leanings that they have to beat up and blind another human being!   Mr Big-Deals, determined that everybody should be like them: homophobic, narrow, conformist.  Mr So-Braves, ganging up, and kicking and hitting (all three of them!) someone when he's down.  Sorry, guys, this is not how real men behave.

I keep on having ppl tell me how much more tolerant ppl are  today.  And yet there are still homophobic arseholes so filled with hatred for gay men that they attack someone, unprovoked, and blind them.  Scum.  I hope they get long prison sentences.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


A security guard tries to catch a streaker at the 2016 rugby match between the NSW Waratahs and the Queensland Reds (from The Guardian)