Monday, January 25, 2010

Things that make me disproportionately pleased

(in no particular order, really)
1. Chooks
2. Wooden boats
3. My home-grown, home-pickled beetroot (arguably as good as Auntie Myrtle's)
4. Drew Barrymore smiling
5. Fish and chips on Blairgowrie beach at sunset
6. Writing so intently I don't realise it's lunchtime already
7. Pink (not the colour, mind you, which would be on the list of things I hate)
8. Lots and lots and lots of books
9. Turkish rugs in a deep crimson and midnight blue
10. Mist on the river in the early mornings.

Things I am utterly over

1. A sudden influx of blog spam
2. Australia Day posturing
3. Caterpillars
4. Celebrity updates masquerading as news (Brangelina? Sure. Corey Worthington? I don't think so.)
5. "Untold story" revelations about topics on which anybody with half a brain can find a dozen books
6. Hysteria over any mis-steps in reporting climate science: if only other science (say, testing of drugs or pesticides, or perhaps climate change denial claims) were subject to such media scrutiny
7. Unattractive tennis outfits
8. Tony Abbott. Although I can't think of a time since 1982 when I wasn't utterly over him
9. Apple product releases masquerading as news
10. The 2010 exercise regime I haven't even started yet.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The thrill of it all

Just finished my beach holiday.
These are the books I took with me to read:
- The Boat (Nam Le)
- D-Day (Antony Beevor)
- The Great War and Modern Memory (Paul Fussell)

This is what I actually read:
- Who Weekly
- Famous

- Old copies of the English Country Living (again)
- The Sensuous Gardener, by my new hero Monty Don (again)
- Elizabeth Jane Howard's memoir, Slipstream (vague and disappointingly light)
- Enigma (Robert Harris)
- When Eight Bells Toll (or something like that) and Where Eagles Dare (Alistair MacLean)
- An entire Desmond Bagley omnibus some of which wasn't very good
I nearly even read a Clive Cussler but my partner sent me off to the newsagents for alternatives just in time, including a rather annoying Alexander Fullerton WW2 resistance thriller the name of which escapes (pardon the pun) me already.

I never do that. I usually spend my holiday reading time catching up on the pile by my bedside that never seems to get any smaller. And I certainly don't spend the whole summer reading things especially designed to be read quickly and compulsively. God, it was fun.

Anyway, I was halfway through the first Alistair MacLean and realised: I should write thrillers. Never mind this literary fiction bollocks.

That lasted a day, with all sorts of life-changing decisions being made, until I finally remembered: I already do write thrillers; it's just that I write them for kids (it took a while to figure that out, I know, but I was very relaxed at the time).

But when I think about writing for adults, I get into this head space where I have to have Big Ideas. And convey Important Truths. Or some nonsense.

As if the ideas in my kids books (slavery, colonialism, violence, friendship, community, self-identify) aren't Big.

So after that false alarm, mixed in as it was with other major decisions about what to eat next and what time to go to the beach, I plotted out my next thriller. It's got boats, and spies, and danger, and late night death-defying escapes, and confrontations at gunpoint.
Just like Alistair MacLean.
And me.