Hi Erich, I’m hoping you get this. I tried to email you, but for some reason the email kept getting returned, so I’m sending you this message instead. I’m so glad you liked Blood Red Horse, and hope you like the two sequels, Green Jasper and Blaze of Silver, which finish the story of Gavin, Will, Ellie, Kamil and Hosanna. The inspiration came from my own horse, a lovely red mare called Miss Muffet, and a line in a very … Continue reading →
I’m not a good blogger. For ages, I’ve been trying to work out why. I’m quite chatty – well, very chatty, too chatty many would say. I’m a writer, so the keyboard is a natural form of communication. I’m not a recluse. Some failed or failing bloggers seem to find solace in believing they’re ‘above’ blogging, that their words are reserved for ‘real’ writing. Blogging is real writing. It’s just a different form of real writing. That’s one reason, at least, that I’m no good at it. I can’t quite catch the blog form. I wish I could, since a good blog is a daily treat. Ah – there’s another reason. I have no urge to blog daily, but the secret of a good blog is the daily post. The blogger becomes familiar. Small details matter. You want to know how things are going. The same adage applies to a blog as to a friend: the less you speak, the less you have to say. If you only blog occasionally, nobody’s really interested. If you blog daily, you offer a real glimpse of your life, and other people’s lives are endlessly fascinating, their relative ordinariness reassuring.
Tania Kindersley is a superb blogger, and the other day, she touched on something else that separates the good from the poor blogger. Good bloggers are compelled to turn experiences into words. Even as you’re experiencing whatever it is, you’re turning it into a blog. You can’t help it. Before you’ve blogged, the experience isn’t quite fixed. Only when it’s up and posted can you relax. Recognising this, Tania was lamenting that she never quite ‘lives in the moment’. But the blogger’s curse of never quite living in the moment is the reader’s blessing. We benefit from the blogger’s compulsion to turn everything into a blog. The definition of a good blogger is, indeed, the compulsive blogger who can’t help but blog, and who, through sheer force of character, compels the reader to read.
From my periodic attempts to blog I’ve learned that I’m not built for it any more than I’m built for eating prunes, tending a garden or office politics. I shall just accept that occasional bloggers like me are not good bloggers. When I read Tania’s blog, I shall stop feebly worrying ‘why can’t I do that?’, I’m simply going to say ‘horses for courses’ and enjoy it.
The hours I put in at the piano should mean that so long as I haven’t been unable to practise, I sit, warm up, refresh previous work and continue to some further improvement. But take yesterday. Complete collapse of a much-rehearsed exercise, loss of control over 4th and 5th fingers of right hand, and a hideous lapse of memory. I slid away, apologising and mortified.
It may seem silly to apologise to a piano, but I think that like horses, pianos have temperaments, and not only physical – temperature, humidity – but personas that can give or withold their gifts. Just as a rider’s scratchiness can provoke a horse into jibbing and jogging, so a player’s mood can provoke a piano into sticking and stumbling. My piano is very generous. It puts up with me, for goodness sake. But if I open it up in a bit of a mood, we sometimes have words. It says ‘Now look here. You get out only what you put in’. I say, ‘But I put quite a lot in’. Mine is a ridiculous response, and the piano lets me know.
Yesterday, I must have been in more of a mood than I thought. Today, as I retreat to basics, I’m determined to be Mrs. Unmoody. The last time I managed this I was either unconscious or not yet born. A bit of a challenge, then.
So, I sit in my study. Behind me is the piano. Beside me is Michael Schmidt’s The Novel, a biography . In front of me is my notebook and my lovely little MacBook Air, with work in progress, winking. I should be attacking WinP. I feel the need to read Michael Schmidt. I want to practise Goldberg Variation 5. I’ve decided to be orderly. I’ll do one thing, then the next, then the next, but I know that if I hit Variation 5, all will go wrong and I’ll be there for hours; that once I’ve got stuck into MS’s book, I’ll be hooked; and the heart slightly quails at the WiP.
I know, I know. With the sun out and the leaves fresh enough to eat, these are what you might call ‘nice problems to have’. I do love a day with nice problems.
‘Alathea returned and sat on Annie’s right. There was music on the stand. Alathea set it aside and chose music from a pile on the floor. Mozart duets? An imperceptible nod from Annie … It was the joy that swept Annie in. …http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy3y_zf9Ft8
I love this performance – so lively and stylish. I think Alathea and Annie would have loved it too.