Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Day In The Life Of...

Me. Since a very young age I've rather craved being the Luminary Of Note featured on the back page of the Sunday Times Magazine. All said luminaries, however, seem to have very organised lives; mine borders on the chaotic. After waking up at the unbearable and ungodly hour of 06.20 to the morning Market Report, without which The Chap cannot function (I can; and am planning to sabotage him with the Shipping Forecast. I find "Northeasterly 4 or 5, backing northerly 5 to 7 later" oddly soothing), I stagger in the general direction of the coffee pot and quaff a pint or two. After performing various Domestic Tasks (though sadly not in the bell-shaped skirts and heels considered indispensable by the 1950s Housewife: I suspect The Chap may approve of such a get-up) I get on with the day job and try not to let my characters intrude to too great an extent. Writing's a little like a form of schizophrenia; many different, insistent voices clamouring for attention.
At the moment I have not one, not two, but THREE books on the go. AND a play. The sequel to the Dawn Herald, the Shield Bearer, is laid out beyootifully in my imagination; just need to find the time to write it. It opens with A Quest. At the end of the Dawn Herald my bolshy heroine, Isolde, has had her memory stolen by the Faerie King, who intends to sell it off to the highest bidder. Isolde's loyal band of warriors have a month to find her before the Lady Lilith, queen of the Old Ones and a Jolly Bad Sort, obliterates the Third World and all the men and creatures on it. The Shield Bearer is Nat, who was one of few friends Isolde possessed during her turbulent youth (as a young Dawn Herald she was considered highly dangerous, as Heralds Shine brightly when confronted with evil and inadvertantly incinerate everyone and -thing in their immediate vicinity: not the best way to make friends and influence people). Isolde always had the sneaking suspicion that Nat might be vaguely personable if he were only taller, broader in the shoulder, tidier, had better hair, and didn't cut her down to size on every available opportunity.
By the time Isolde's memory is stolen, Nat has been trained in the arts of warfare and diplomacy, has filled out considerably in the shoulder region and has a excellent leg for a hunting boot. A natural leader of men, he is absolutely fearless. Some ten thousand words into The Shield Bearer, he and the warriors (including the Pirate King, an irrepressible rogue, Arielle, daughter of the Witch-Queen of Ira-Doon and Halliam, Isolde's father and deposed King of Gerena) have travelled into the Lands of Fire (which bear an uncanny resemblance to Istanbul, a place I know well, only considerably hotter) to seek out the lost Princess. They discover that she is being held captive by the Monster of the Depths, once the fairest bard in the whole of the Dawn Territories, now corrupt and hell-bent on destruction, and are about to have a jolly good battle with the Monster and his stone goblin minions. Unfortunately once they vanquish the Monster and invade his lair they find that the bird has flown... I'm really looking forward to writing the next part of the quest, in which Nat is imprisoned in Isolde's twin sister's imagination (she's gone doolally-tap or, as Terry Pratchett would have it, completely Bursar) and ages ten years overnight.
Obviously at some point Isolde will have to be rescued and her memory restored. But writing a Quest is jolly good fun. Reminds me of all the Arthurian tales I read in my youth.
Alas; must put creativity on one side. The washing up awaits....but at least I have the evening to look forward to, during which The Chap and I will probably read, argue gently about anything and everything, and sip contemplatively at a glass of fizz or three. Wonderful stuff.

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Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat -Ralph Ellison