Celtic Illumination, part 359, All I could do was cry.
First of all today I would like to welcome all the new followers to this Celtic Illumination blog, or as we are collectively known, The Illuminati. The most recent being Gillian Jane Sims, a poet, and most very welcome addition to our family. Some time ago I decided that if people who followed Justin Bieber were known as Beliebers, or people who followed Aston Villa football club were known as Villians, then those who follow Celtic Illumination should be known as The Illuminati. So welcome, you will be contacted soon regarding your blood sacrifice and monthly financial donation, well; we are talking world domination. I know that it is usually this blog that receives awards, and there are far too many for me to go in to detail, but this time it is me myself issuing an award. Quite a lot of you, The Illuminati, contacted me and said that when you started reading certain episodes in this blog you felt that you had to stop, go right back to the beginning and read this whole thing from the start. Didn’t you Angela, yes and you Ken.
Within the next day or two the total word count for this blog will pass through the 500,000 word mark. For any of you suffering from arithmophobia that’s half a million words and the same length as War and Peace although some people argue that the actual word count for War and Peace is closer to six hundred thousand words, it depends which language it is in. War and Peace is of course not the longest novel ever recorded, that honour, if length is anything to go by, falls to ‘Artamene, or Cyrus the Great,’ a French novel sequence originally published in ten volumes, which to me is cheating, but the total word count is two million one hundred thousand. Not only is it probably not as good as my blog but it is in French, I rest my case.
And resting is what I was up to back in England. It’s horrible having to wait to hear from people, Jeffrey was having kittens again as I had now planned out three novels for Alec Reid and we hadn’t even signed any form of contract with him yet. I couldn’t help myself, being a writer was like having a nervous tick, and no Ken Clare I don’t mean a blood drinking parasite afraid of meeting new people in social situations, I mean an involuntary movement, something you had to do and had no control over. My Magnus Opus was always screaming at me from the corner of my mind, demanding that I actually sit down and start it but it was too difficult, although I think I was allowing it to be difficult. But I did have another writing challenge that I set myself and that was to write a short story.
I had written plenty of short stories before and each and every one of them, as you may expect, was a masterpiece, although to tell the truth there are one or two you often wish you had penned under a different name. I wanted to write a short story that would make people cry. Sometimes you are lucky enough to read a piece of literature that moves you in some way, it may change your political outlook or influence the way you think about something. This was quite simple for me, I wanted to write a short story that would make me cry and therefore hopefully a reader. I understand that everyone is different and that the story might not be read in a similar fashion by those who would hopefully and eventually read it.
So as the days dragged by and we waited to hear from America and the likes of the Teutul family, Gene Bollea or as you probably know him Hulk Hogan, Alex Reid and one or two other celebrities that we had approached. I set about writing my short story. I have only ever read two short stories that made me cry and that was on the first read, I have read them time and time again since enjoying that emotional explosion and from then on would dissect each story every time I read it trying to understand how the writer had actually done it. The motive for writing short stories can be quite interesting. One idea I had was to write a collection of thirteen stories, each from a different person’s viewpoint but all focused on one specific event. Twelve people would witness a crime, or an event, and each would give their version of what happened, but the final story would be from the perpetrator. But the reader wouldn’t realise the connection until they were reading the very last story. Told you that I was as clever as a pair of freshly polished shoes.
Sometimes you would write to a specific theme perhaps for a short story competition where the focus and length of the story is often dictated. So I found it interesting that all I wanted to do was make myself cry. I know, I could have taken the easy route and started punching myself in the face, but rather than take the easy option, I found myself sat sitting at the keyboard with a blank screen in front of me. You can, for example, if writing for competitions or magazines, write to a specific word count, I know here I go again about bloody word counts, but many writers will tell you that each story has its own length, which has been determined long before you write the first word. So I had no parameters to keep within, just one simple rule, or aim, make me cry.
This was around the time of some severe droughts in the UK. People started talking about aquifer’s, hose pipe bans and towing ice bergs down from the North Pole. For us as a family it was an interesting time as we were still spending much of our free time racing around the reservoirs and forests on the far side of Wigan around Anglzarke and Rivington. The children were always asking questions about the drought so I found that I was able to climb down the front of one of the dam walls at one of the larger reservoirs. Don’t worry it didn’t involve ropes and crampons, there was set of steps and a hand rail going all the way down. We were able to climb all the way down to the water’s edge from where we could look up and using the normal, when full, water mark, that ran around the reservoir, actually imagine the volume of water that was missing. I think it certainly helped the children understand that situation.
I also wished that I had a couple of hand grenades as the fish were now concentrated in one corner of the reservoir, near the front wall and steps where we were, so I could have filled the freezer with fresh trout, although I expect the fly fishing locals might have reacted badly to my scheme. And we were getting to know the locals as I had my three boys playing rugby for Orrell rugby club in Wigan. I had always associated Wigan with Rugby League and was pleased to find Orrell rugby union club where they even had a cubs squad for those under eight years of age. I hope the children enjoyed it, I never once feared for them as they each charged about for their various teams, meeting new friends and making new enemies. James was growing fast and was a very tall lad so quite obviously went in to the pack while Gerard and Charles were little speed merchants who zipped about, always with a smile on their face and the understanding that no matter how hard you get punched in the face you should never cry. Bleed by all means, but never cry.
But crying is what I was trying to do. I can remember sitting there forming a short story in my mind and then starting to type. It was like holding on to the reigns of a runaway milk horse towing a milk float, worried about what is in front and aware, but unconcerned, about the mayhem you have left behind. The first story didn’t work. It was a good story, well written, even though I say so myself, but no tears. I was disappointed but no tears. I would have to try again and apart from wanting to produce a story that would move people to tears I wonder, if as recently suggested by fellow blogger Colonialist, it was the Celtic quality of bloody-mindedness that helped drive me on. Day after day I would sit there and write and then one day it began to happen. I could feel it in my bones, my fingers were flashing across the keyboard and I couldn’t bear the excitement as the story poured out of me.
Two hours previously I knew nothing about this story, I had no notes or plans, no theme, just the desire to write a story that would make people cry. You don’t worry about spelling or punctuation as you write, well; I don’t, the important thing is to get the story out, to try and match the speed of your subconscious as the words spew out, even at this very moment, writing this, my fingers are flashing about, the screen is dotted with words underlined in red and blue, grammatical mistakes and incorrect spelling, I’m sure if this computer was any smarter it would be screaming at me, grammar Nazi that it is, but I wouldn’t hear it as Etta James is telling me that “All she could was cry,” and she hasn’t even read the story. The last word crashed on to the page and the fingers stopped I stood up punching the air I was so happy that I was crying my eyes out, I had managed to write a short story that would make people cry, well; it had worked with me, I could only hope it would work on lesser mortals. As I shot up, the back of my legs sent my chair skittering across the floor. I was so happy that I was crying that I looked about to tell someone but then realised that I was all on my own, as I am right now, or am I?