Apologies to my irregularly regular readers for a rather big gap in posts to this blog. The main reason (other than seasonal distractions) has been that I have spent the last few months taking stock of where I'm at with my writing and perhaps more importantly trying to decide where I want to go next. Obviously, this is the right time of year to put some of those decisions into practice.
As I've said elsewhere on this blog, somewhere about mid 2007, poetry came back into my life. It was sudden and unexpected - a lightning strike really - and to be honest, I wondered if it would stay. But so far, fingers crossed, it has, and I find myself working on more poems than I have written for some twenty five years. Nobody ever made much of a living from poems, but I don't really care about that. I'm too busy thinking about the insights they bring with them.
Yet another change was inspired by a friend and excellent critic who read The Curiosity Cabinet and told me that - although he liked the whole book - he thought the historical sections were somehow better imagined and therefore more successful in many ways than the modern sections. On reflection, I reckon he's right, and this too helped me to see that the novel I have been struggling with for the last couple of years wasn't working too well because it is crying out to be a historical novel - and I was desperately trying to turn it into a contemporary solution to an old mystery - with marketing in mind.
I had written some 75 pages of it, very very slowly, and found myself disliking quite a lot of it. So I have temporarily shelved it - the basic theme and story is a good one, so I'll certainly be going back to it. But to give myself breathing space, I am now deep into a novel set in Glasgow a couple of hundred years ago. It's a reasonably literary story about a loving male friendship, a tragedy, and changing times and so far I'm enchanted by it. I hope that one of these days, some editors might be enchanted by it as well!
Incidentally, if you would like to read The Curiosity Cabinet you can now find a download from the excellent Audible - a very good unabridged reading from a reputable company.
Meanwhile, I have something for you to read - this week, and for some weeks to come - but I'll save it for a new post, later on today.