HELP! I thought. I'm drowning in quicksand. Not some soggy mud that can't decide whether it's sand or water, nor even some esoteric thixotropic substance, turning to near-water and laughing as I struggle. No, my quicksand is words, other people's words. We've all been there (I hope). The moment when our efforts at writing seem futile, remaindered before written.
My worst quicksand is probably picking up a famous work and finding, horror of horrors, Edgar Alan Poe or Daphne du Maurier has already written my latest brilliant idea. And done it better. How can anyone compete? Then, answering myself, That's easy – don't. Hang in there and write exactly what you want to write.
I try to avoid other authors until after my first draft is complete. That way I am armoured against the world. My story is real and it's my story in my voice. What's more, I know who I am writing for. Seeing my work in print has always given me a kick but I used to write, mostly, for myself. Now I really want to share my creations. Alas, my first experience of sharing my creations was Kevin's unforgiving, critiquing finger pointing out the instantly obvious wasps in the jam. (Poe, du Maurier, no longer a problem just unintentional critiquers.) Firmly trampling pride into the depths, I hope better stories are surfacing. Of course, I'm still waiting to be drowned in extravagant praise! Please take note everyone.
Has Bonnie Prince Charlie ever given you hassle? This time the quicksand was fascinating, addictive research. How could I get my head above the surface and weed out the non-essentials? It hurt. Like when BPC escaped to Skye, how much did we want to know about the disguise-dress he was wearing? The really interesting question was always whose dress was it anyway? A plain dress might say Flora Macdonald. Something more fancy might...well the 'Bonnie' says it all.
Posterity is way down my desirability list. It involves publicity. Seeing myself on TV, or on the radio, especially live, made me cringe with embarrassment. Well, that's a quicksand experience I see no difficulty avoiding in the future!
Only one quicksand left. What if I wake up one day and it's not there anymore? Would that mean I had nothing else to write about? Nothing to look forward to except the final, inescapable quicksand of harp and cloud.
My next blog will tell you about my conversion to Buddhism and reincarnation!