Saturday, 13 July 2013

4 years later

4 years later; 4 years down the line.

I formally started this blog on 13th April 2009 but my first significant entry was on 26th June 2009 - the day after Michael Jackson died. So, just over 4 years ago.

This was when I decided that writing that novel must become a reality. That I must get beyond the fantasy; the dream that I had in my head since I was 12 years old. Instead, I must make all this real.

And so I commenced.

However, I now fully understand my reluctance to venture down this path. I mean, I knew it would be a big task; I knew that it would take me to areas that I had never been to before; I knew that I would face problems that I had never faced before; I knew that I would wonder whether I could actually overcome these obstacles and move forward with it all or whether I would give up; I wondered whether I would have the guts and determination; I wondered whether I could maintain my confidence about it all and take the necessary risks (particularly given the solitary nature of it all); I wondered whether I would worry too much about rejection and/or connecting up with the 'right' agent and/or publisher; I wondered whether I thought that it would waste my time; I wondered whether I would succumb to pressures to proceed with it but in ways that I knew would not be good for me, etc. etc.

Well, I am finding a way, but how hard, how very hard it is proving to be. No wonder I was reluctant and cautious! I mean, to take such risks one needs quite a lot of financial and emotional security anyway - something which I never had enough of before. And even now, it has not been/is not always that easy. Recently, for example, the need to earn more money and to change our lifestyle has reared its head once again.

However, I think the hardest part of the whole process for me was 3 years ago when I read back over some of my novel writing and decided that really it was more like non-fiction than fiction. And, I decided that it was basically unpublishable as fiction, that it was hopeless and that I should abandon the whole project! Forget about it; it was wasting my time. Throw it away. Horror of horrors - to come so far and yet still, to be faced with this! Whatever was I to do? I really did not want to abandon it after all that. But on the other hand, no point in pursing something that really isn't very good; that is not engaging for the reader; that the reader could not relate to and that basically wouldn't get published. What to do? Abandon it; chuck it away, forget about it. Or make it something that would appeal to a wide readership, but then, that would not be effective therapy for me, and I would probably have been better off  continuing to write non-fiction instead.

But I found an answer. Hallelajah, the saints be praised and all that.  My 'saviour' was Jean-Paul Sartre who combined non-fiction and philosophy in his novels, and who also wrote non-fiction separately, of course. I re-read 'The Age of Reason'; I read 'Nausea' and then I was able to carry on. I was released; I was liberated. Thank goodness for that. I then wrote blogs for 'Serendipitous Moments' on these 2 novels. 'The Age of Reason' - see
and 'Nausea' - see

I was able to continue.

But then I hit on another problem - all my novel writing needed to be broken down more. OK - no problem (or so I thought). But heavens - it was all starting to become unwieldy. The answer? To turn it into a trilogy (yes, I know Sartre did that as well, but I came to this decision very independently - really, I did). And so that was what I did. I then understood why a novel has to be one or 3 really (unless it is an epic) - to keep the basic format of a beginning, a middle and an end. And so I continued.

But then there were the interruptions of life; the stop and go.

And so 4 years later I am still at it. Dear oh dear. Still, Tolkien took 13 years to write 'Lord of the Rings'. So mine is a relatively short time-span compared to that! I consoled myself.

Writing these blogs have really helped to clear my thinking with it all though. They have gone alongside the novel writing very well. They have been very helpful. But they must remain that way. Of late, they (along with other things) have been 'taking over' rather than supporting the novel; and the novel itself has been very much neglected. That must change or I will get beyond even Tolkien's time-scale.

With life changes comes the need for decision changes.

The answer, for the time-being at least, would seem to be to cut down on blog work and to increase the novel writing work (as well as finding ways to live differently and trying to earn some more money!)

So, that's enough of this. Get to it!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

4 Ramadan

Rashid Khan

'4Ramadan - A Very British Ramadan' is a TV programme series on Channel 4 which starts tomorrow (Monday 8th July) at 8.00pm.

A Very British Ramadan is the first programme in 4Ramadan, a season of programmes reflecting what life is like for Britain's Muslim population who observe this religious festival. Rashid Khan travels around the UK interviewing various Muslims, and talking to them about Ramadan.

"Channel 4 follows and hears from a range of British Muslims throughout Ramadan, on how they cope with daily life and the physical and spiritual effects of fasting, as they go through it."

Gregory Rikowski (who converted to Islam 2 years ago) was interviewed by Rashid Khan for this series of programmes on the Muslim community in the UK.


Andy Murray Wins Wimbeldon

Hooray! Hooray!

Andy Murray just won Wimbledon - first to win Men's Wimbledon Singles for UK since Fred Perry in 1936- taken 77 years to reclaim the title!

Thought I might never live to see it happen in my life-time (especially after the Tim Henman disappointments.).

Just shows you what drive and determination can achieve!

What astounding physical and mental stamina.

Oh wow, wow, wow!!!