Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Another rejection slip!

Another rejection slip to add to the file full on my desk for my romance novel Running After Maria

Looking at it starts to make me wonder whether it is worth going on with my writing. I start to ask the question of what is the purpose. The problem is that the stories and ideas keep cropping up in my head. Sometimes I wake in the night and and idea is born. I know, as my creative writing tutor keeps telling me, I should keep a note book with me at all times. When these ideas occur i should note them down before I forget. That is not the problem though.
I ask myself whether it is because I cannot write or not in the way publishers want me to write. But the stories are always pushing to get out.
Or is it that I do not mix in the right circles? I did not go to Oxbridge or whatever. I have no contacts in th literary area. It does strike me that many published authors have been published because they have friends or aquaintances in influential positions.
Or am I sending my stuff to the wrong people. It is a rather hit and miss process of finding where to send novels and short stories.
Then low and behold I get an email to say that some people have downloaded my fantasy novels from Smashwords. (The Teacher of The Rombuli, The Return of the Exiles and The Prisoner of Parison. All published on smashwords.com, kindle and the first two as paperbacks at createspace,com) There is somebody out there who wants to read my work.
It makes me determined to carry on.
Now to get my Tales from the Sea, the semi autobiographical novel of the time I spent at sea during the 1960's, ready to send away to a publisher or to publish on smashwords. This is a semi-autobiographical novel based on the period served in the British Merchant Navy from 1957 to 1969. During that time, I sailed on oil tankers, cargo ships and passenger ferries to most parts of the world. The reader will meet the characters good and bad, some larger than life, who crew the ships. There are times of calm and days of danger both of the ships and the men. Between the voyages there are the times spent ashore in bars, brothels and in compound clubs. Some of the time there are episodes of humour and at other tragedy, the dramas and dangers of being at sea. Under pinning the whole tale is the sea in all its moods.
This is best illustrated by an unpublished poem of mine.
The Sailor’s Mistress
When the cargo is loaded and all falls quiet
The sea itself is calling, 
Beckoning the sailor out there beyond the dock. 
His mistress is waiting 
Where the river meets the sea. 
He has no real knowledge of what her reaction will be
When he sails out to meet her. 
She may greet him in a calm, balmy mood,
Like a gentle lover entwining him in her arms, 
Leaving him refreshed and happy when they part. 
It might be that she is angry 
And will meet him with unmatched violence 
A violence which beats upon the senses 
And leaves the lovers drained and exhausted, 
Ready to rush apart , 
Ready to find a place of peace and quiet 
Not the feeling of complete satisfaction. 
Like all lovers, the sea and the sailor
Will never quite know what moods will greet them when they meet
Or how the mood can change very quickly.  
This is the excitement of the sea.  
Every time a ship leaves port,
The sailor approaches that love 
With a mixture of exhilaration and apprehension. 
Will they together make beautiful love under a clear blue sky 
Or will they fight? 
It is not for the sailor to subdue the sea 
But to live with her moods 
In the hope that he can survive.
The sea is calling, always calling 
As a lover calls.
The writing will continue! There again I have no choice in the matter. The stories need to be written down.!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Waiting for a bus

I stood on St Margaret's bus station in Leicester the other day waiting for an Arriva bus. The indicator said the bus was due at 1605. A queue formed. Nothing happened. Then the indicator changed. 1615. We waited. Nothing happened. The bus rank remained empty. Then the indicator changed. 1625. People in the queue were asking each other why the delay.
A question occurred to me. Have I wasted the last thirty five years? When I was lecturing I used to tell my students about this situation.
Transport is all about enabling people or goods to arrive at a place they would rather be or can be of greater utility. It is the arrival that people want from transport. But the promise of all transport companies must be hat the arrival is accomplished safely. The people or the goods have to arrive uninjured or in one piece. This all must be to a laid down timetable.
That is the promise that a transport company makes. To deliver a person of some goods to the destination at the time advertised and safely.
The biggest frustration for most people is for the transport company not to carry out their side of the bargain in not sticking to the timetable or not looking after the goods. Most people accept that transport cannot work like clockwork. There are elements which cannot be taken into consideration. What these people want is to be informed of why the delay or the holdup. To leave people stranded in a bus station without taking the trouble to give them some information about the causes of the delay and how the company is trying to solve the problem goes against all the principles of good transport.
I was saying this thirty five years ago but still the lessons have not been learnt.
A black mark for Arriva Buses!
For a fuller explanation see:
Chapter One of my book Managing Transport Operations published byKogan Page.