I’ve decided to make the full chapter outline for Children of the Resolution (note the new title — the reason for which can be found here) available online. I’d like this project to be much more of an observable process than my other work, the day-to-day changes and developments noted and, where appropriate, commented on. I’m not sure how workable it is, but we’ll give it a go and see, eh? 😉
Children of the Resolution Chapter Outline.
At this time of year, I’m sure most, if not all of us look back on the previous twelve months or so and take stock — ticking off the good and the bad and, on the whole, usually realising that as difficult as it might get at times, it could probably be a whole lot worse. We watch the news and the seemingly endless TV charity adverts and give what we can, but still feel that it will never be quite enough. Will my donation really make a difference? we wonder, battling with the sheer, relentless scale of it all. And it’s all too easy to believe that it won’t.
But, of course, it will. And with this in mind, I’d like to share with you to my chosen charity — a very special place just down the road from where I live. Zöe’s Place Baby Hospice.
“Ah, it’s a hard life for we writerly types,” typed an especially writerly type. “Day in, day out, we suffer the multitudinous whims of our tautologically whimsical muses, butting against buttressed blocks, contemplating plagiarism but never giving in to it (honest), never knowing if our insights will be well-received — or even if they’ll be received at all — and then, to top it all, we find out that, in literary circles, a favourite author just isn’t cool. And people wonder why Hemingway blew his brains out!”
Joking aside, it’s quite a while since I actually gave a flying fig what the literary establishment thinks. It must have been… oh, around the time I stopped reading Julian Barnes and the eternally glum Martin Amis. I try not to measure my likes and dislikes by the prejudiced posturing of others. That said, it’s always interesting to see just how out-of-step one can be where favourite fiction is concerned — and with that in mind, I offer for your consideration the first of my favourite “Uncool Authors”, Mr. Garrison Keillor.
Midwestern broadcaster and writer, Keillor’s work has always been something of an oddity in my book collection — not typical, but all the more valuable because of this. His trademark laconic style was a breath of fresh air when I first discovered him and it has largely remained that way ever since. I couldn’t read him every day, but I consider him a necessary antidote to the Twenty-First Century. When I read him, I’m very much aware that this particular version of the American Midwest may not actually exist, except in Keillor’s mind. Or maybe it does. It doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t want to live there, either way, because, for me, it’s the very ordinary oddness of his work that I enjoy — and this is something that can best be appreciated only as a “visitor”. So I visit, but only ever take an overnight bag.
It’s what I do instead of listening to The Archers.
“On the 30th of September 2007, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens sat down for a first-of-its-kind, unmoderated 2-hour discussion, convened by RDFRS and filmed by Josh Timonen.”
Fascinating, informative and thought-provoking.
In the spirit of generosity and love for our fellow humans that even a lowly, hellbound atheist like me can appreciate and aspire to at this time of year, I’d like to share something very special with you.
When I was a wee boy, Christmas was about three things — family, presents (well I was a kid!) and the Royal Institution Christmas lectures. For those of you unfamiliar with the latter, these were accessible (but not dumbed-down beyond recogntition) science lectures, aimed principally at children and shown over the holiday period on the BBC. There were so informative, frightfully British and inspiring that I watched them well into adulthood — and this from 1991 is one of my favourites.
The above question is one I’ve been thinking about quite a lot just recently. The chapter outlines for Children of the Revolution are now complete (and, boy, am I happy with them!) and whilst there are immense similarities to my own experiences up to the age of about nineteen, and even though my protagonist possesses many Gary-like traits and attitudes, it’s still hard for me to comfortably view it as being about “me”. Even though, to a very large extent, it is.
The author John Irving once made an insightful comment. I’m quoting from memory, here, but it went something along the lines of how he was wary of/uncomfortable with the autobiographical form because he could “always remember a better version”. He was referring to that very human (and possibly very necessary) trait we have to revise our memories — to tweak them in our favour, to make ourselves the heroes of our own lives, or merely to present a more amusing story down the pub. I am very conscious of wanting to avoid this with Children of the Revolution. If Carl, my protagonist, is to be even a bit like me, I don’t want him morphing into some cape-wearing superhero — WheelchairMan, Righter of Educational Wrongs and All-round Good Egg.
To avoid this, I’m trying not to think of it in “semi-autobiographical” terms. I’m drawing on my past heavily (the school-based episodes have about a ninety percent factual base), but the emphasis in the phrase “semi-autobiographical novel” is solidly on the word “novel”. It has to be, if I’m to get the job done successfully. Carl is just another character in just another of my novels. A boy/man like any other — with faults and virtues alike. He’s not me, because if he were I might be tempted on some level to gloss over my own failings (not that there are that many, as I’m sure you know… I’ve told you often enough ;-)) and present an unbalanced view that would do no one any favours.
I might admit to the unmistakable likeness and the genetic match once the novel is written, but for now he’s someone I’ve just met — a stranger I’m learning to know and love.
The things a writer has to do!
I came across this years ago and have just managed to find it again on YouTube. It appeals to the Grinch in me.
WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE AND OTHER MATERIAL THAT MAY OFFEND.