(musings upon a mind in freefall)

to keep intruders at bay she carries a leper bell

sings songs of debauchery and careless devotion

ensuring the wild-eyed peasants keep a distance

if only she knew the pace at which the stimulant

ethereal legacies afford when left as keepsakes

if only, if only she knew that one thing

my mind races, I am collecting all her knowledge

dissecting her language and intent at a swift pace

“He’s a quick learner in more ways than one”

her bedtime whimsy now embedded in my head

I digest too much at one sitting for my own good?

can I grasp as she does? not now, likely not ever

conceptually though, the ability to assimilate

both thunder clap and whispered sweet talk

as something more feasible than spoken word

a far-fetched notion until this moment in time

through obscure gift I imbibe her every feeling

illustration, speculation and ravenous inclination

I could not but help to perceive her off the hip

He sleeps the sleep of the dead” before she left

I worry not save for her safety as by some means

I am aware of her return sooner rather than later

her unhindered slick telepathy feeds my sixth sense

besides she gifted me the lucid glory of a daydream

within which something intangible speaks aloud

and a mortal being of substance scribbles graffiti

a portrayal of me from before sanity was hijacked

am I on the right-track? was I once as explicit as she?

for the moment though I must recount my daydream

keep it safe from an obscurity that claims all notions




    1. Thanks Ms S. The lady is spoken for in the ‘thing’. I’ve finished the thing I needed to finish. I just need to review from the top and make it as edible – possibly the right word – as it ever can be.

      1. Cheers, Ms S. Even as I write I’m starting from the top again, ever hopeful that this time, I won’t get the urge to make so many changes as I did with the first stab at editing.

      2. Mike, BTO, when I first round officially edited The Writer and The Rake, I did change everything. AND I added two new scenes that shot the word count up when I had to change stuff at the back of these scenes, so then ..then I had to go back and rip out words. Editing is frequently confetti throwing insanity.

      3. Good to know. The quest for perfect sentences and struggles with tenses (how do I manage that – a gift I could do well without) plus better, new ideas dropping in from nowhere, certainly uninvited. ‘Tis all new to me.

      4. Listen, I believe in writing the thing, good, bad whatever. Just get the words down cos ideas come and go as you do. AND you also see things on the next go that you see are not really feasible, I did down tools on The Writer and The Rake and go back, before it was finished, something I never do but the actual book focus was wrong and I could hear the characters telling me that themselves. I needed to get it in on time so I also knew there would be things to sort during first round edits, my prob being with this time concept that there has to be an emotional connection and my heroes and heroines just do not fall into that early or easily. That was when I totally fleshed out the hero’s background and back story and rewrote huge chunks and added scenes. I do think books develop as you go and I feel the mistake we all make is by trying to map and plot the whole thing in advance. I would never write a damned word if I did that. I also feel that books that do do that are less interesting. It is like I am here today. I need to write to that point. Nah. Kindah colour by numbers. SO never despair that things are changing or whatever, so long as it all keeps moving forward x

      5. The characters do speak to you. That, Ms S is a truth if there ever was one. They let you know the strangest things about themselves and certainly point out scenes they are in that they don’t like; don’t agree with; wouldn’t been seen dead in or doing etc. I find it interesting that mistakes made along the way don’t seem to leave you pulling your hair out by the roots. Your determination, as ever, remains a beacon other lost writers would do well to keep an eye out for rather than get washed up on the rocks in a storm.
        The thing that has fascinated me most is that, unlike poetry; short essays and the like, is when they are done, they’re done. They edit themselves. When a story is told; is finished it complains it has no clothes hence – you know all this better than I ever will – a visit to The Edit Posh Clothes Shop for Tales to get some decent kit to go walkabout in. A whole new process for me. Now the big bit is done, I shall take my time trying to dress the story up in its finery.
        Since I finally settled on a title – it has had a number during the writing process – it has an identity of its own; a proper name. Even a title sparks the imagination sometimes I have discovered.
        Also, I must do something with the new poetry book. It’s been sat finished for a few months now. Sometimes I hear it grumbling, ‘What’s going on here?’

    2. I think the worst thing about writing a book is this business of changing something because in your heart you know you must and you just brush that under the carpet. The prob is that you change one bit, but it is never one bit. it is also the bits behind, or after that are pertinent to that bit. I love what you say re the Edit Posh Clothes Shop. That sums it up exactly. You are also going through every scene when it is finished and asking questions about , does is appeal to the five senses, is there too much description, too little? Is the meat and heat there? For me it is always goal motivation conflict. These are the things that make a book different from an essay, a poem etc. But I think if you see these things then that book will be a well written book as opposed to a heap of unfocused, indulgent, all l over the place, shit. Also, I think you cut your teeth on a first book that way. You learn. I mean when I first got handed my first ever book, first edits, —and edits are done in rounds– I got the standard list of what was needing changed and what we would change in this round only. Now, when I get handed that round and the letter, I just do the whole lot at a go. I could never ever have done that four years back. But I don’t even think about it now. So, you do learn and it makes it easier next time to now what to look for, what to sort , what to ask yourself etc. I don’t feel I forgot these things with this latest book. It just had problems (largely cos I just made it up as I went along which I always do, but not on a deadline ) it had probs cos I needed hero and heroine to get involved emotionally quickly and my characters just DON’T do that. I don’t write that. I owed it to them to create a credible situation where they might give a quarter inch that way. SO laughing at your saying the same as me that characters do speak to you. Some folks think I am bonkers when I say that. But Brittany seriously pulled me aside and said, ‘Focus is wrong darling. This isn’t a story of a woman choosing between two men but two worlds. You
      are leaving me nowhere to go in this book. Oh, ‘ and she adds, ‘ Mitchell doesn’t like it either.’ And he told me he didn’t , that he hated the muse I’d chosen, the character, that I was making him a lovable, second choice for the heroine, buffoon, the war between him and his son needed to be real, not phony, he was sneaky otherwise and I had done nothing to address the fact that he is in this mess cos of his past as a rake and he needs to confront that. ‘ They told me that the story I was writing would make another book but not this one. You are so kind to say what you have. It truly mean a great deal to me Mike. I just think for the sake of the hair on my head, that it is important to keep focused. Given the amount of curve balls my characters throw me, I’d have no hair otherwise. xx.

      1. As insights go, it doesn’t get any better than what you have said here. At the outset, last May (!) I had, in my initial enthusiasm thought that as my motivation was merely to see if I could write a fictional book it would make the project relatively easy. How wrong I was. Come last autumn, with that enthusiasm waning and upon reading where I was up to the phrase you have just used, ‘a heap of unfocused, indulgent, all over the place, shit’ could not be more pertinent. It was around that point I thought, ‘bollocks I may as well give up’ – excuse my French. So, I took a break, went back to the new poetry book; finished it; easy. I can knock those out ten a penny. Come the Christmas break and having evolved my albino espionage gal (so far without a name, yet possibly to be granted one during this current review (I can almost hear her begging to have that crucial bit of an identity) I, for all intents and purposes started again from the beginning. The main difference this time was rather than write my characters in to a future world of rampant philosophy and ridiculous happenings that only the inside of my head understood, I scrolled back in time to a period I adore writing about, namely that period twixt (and including) the Spanish Civil War, through WW2 and up to the Cold War. That was the point I thought to myself, ‘Don’t give up just yet’. Ms Albino gal became my substitute for Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo gal.
        The tale of your trials and tribulations getting a book to the place where you wanted it to be is inspiring. It keeps the likes of me ‘honest’, unable to claim my own T & T’s as uniquely mine.
        The cameo posts on WP helped me focus the telescope toward the distant finishing line also, as did finally granting the whole this a title.
        I genuinely take on board (horrible expression) what good souls, who have ‘been there; done it’ (another horrible expression) advise, and have learned the hard way from personal experience.
        Story done, yet unlike a poem, much more to do.
        I can only offer my thanks, Ms S.

      2. MR Steeden, you don’t have to thank me for anything. You are one seriously talented dude. It’s just harnessing that talent to the right horses you know when it comes to writing. And really, what you rare doing in a way now is fine tuning. We have all stood there. And books are all the better for the many runs and tilts we take at them. I mind Incy B emailing me in semi floods the day she got her first edits ever from her publishers . She couldnae see the words for the red comment marks on every line. Ergo, she was a crap writer. I said, ‘ dinnae be silly. Would you like to see my first set ever? Bottom line is, someone saw something there and they are just helping tune it.’ I do love the biz re not having a name. I often have working titles and working names. Lol the names HAVE to be right. I changed the hero’s name is this present wip and I have three times changed the name of the heroine’s dead brother now. I changed the name of the dead bros in Lazuli, and you know what I did a blog on that called the importance of being Ardent, cos the second I changed it to that, boy, despite being six feet under, did he perk up as a character and the hero got quite antsy about him too. The name must be right.( I only ended up with the name Brittany cos I had given her that as a throwaway name in the Viking. I needed something quite modern, or I would never have called her that.) It is the only name that I didn’t actually think out and choose. AS for titles. Well… Lazuli had a diff title originally. I took forever to get His Judas Bride. And the Writer and the rake was a working title only but given it is a part of a series, I left it, deciding every book in the series would have a basic title. you will get. Just be patient. The muse will whisper. To me a title should give you the book at a glance.

      3. I shall revert back – not a thing I often do – in the AM as our beloved Arsenal are playing this very night. As ever, my thanks for your wise words. ‘Till the morn, then.

    1. That’s certainly true, Paul. Of late I’ve been too consumed in finishing what started last May. At last, it has come together. Mind, the need to read back from the top and edit has a boring feel about it!

    1. Thanks, Adele. You’ve got it in one. This extract is part of a bigger picture piece I’m putting together, so you will understand your words are truly appreciated.

  1. “both thunder clap and whispered sweet talk”
    This line just…I reread it three times. Such a clash on the senses and the emotions, both. Brilliant, you. So, blindingly, brilliant.

  2. I am trying to catch up for all the missed time – your poetry and stories are such a treat. This is one challenging year, and I barely have energy to simply keep my blog running.
    I have visited Curraghmore House in hope to see a good portrait of Lady Florence. All in vain – there is one, but upstairs, in the living quarters. I will write about the visit later this year. Cannot write much though, and of course there was no photography. But the spirit of the place was tangible. Hope all is well.

    1. We’re all fine. More importantly, how are you? More of Lady Florence would be good one day, when the time is right. Your blog is a font of knowledge, a gentle place where the art of photography has found itself the finest home. Post when you can, we’ll all still be here. May good fortune shine upon you. Mike

      1. Thank you so much Mike. I will write about the Fifth and his family. Pity I cannot share much about the house, even in writing. The owners still live there and it is all about security. You guys just have to come and visit Curraghmore some day.

      2. Prhaps you should be a pretend burlar for the day? Break in a steal a photograph of the picture…that’s hardly stealing! More seriously, it would be good one day to know a little more. And Ireland is on our list of places we would love to return to. Only a few days ago we were talking of the wasp infection…that wasn’t that funny at the time but has had us laughing since…in Clonakilty.

      3. Haven’t seen a single wasp this summer.

        The only way to get to see that portrait is to speak with Lord Waterford himself. If I ever meet him I will ask, but no luck so far. They don’t stay in the house all the time.

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