Over the years a lot of people have asked me “How do you write?”
Ask me a question like that and I can talk for hours. “I began scribbling in a notebook and then I had a typewriter….”
“No! You don’t get it, not the mechanics, but how does it all come out, on the page?”
Now I’m lost for words. “It just does. I sit there and the words just fall out of nowhere and into my brain and then on down to my fingers and I type them (badly) on the keyboard.”
Strange looks from the questioner – but I honestly don’t know what else to say. Even when I’m a million miles away from my lap top (heaven forbid) I am writing stories in my head. It’s a weird addiction over which I have no control.
See that fat lady waddling down the street? She was once thin and gorgeous, a beauty queen winning prizes, she fell in love with this unfaithful man and then…
That miserable waiter over there? He ran away from home when he was 16, determined to make his way in the world, but somehow….
The little girl drinking her milkshake? She will get run over by a bus on her way home and become an angel and befriend a crazy scientist who will invent…..
There are just so many possibilities.
Oh the power is wonderful. Writing is the only job in the world where you can control people, blow up buildings, start World War III and then go out for morning coffee with friends.
But there is one strange little quirk which I’ve noticed and I’ve tried to deliberately correct it this morning.
Usually I write – I have, he did not, he could not etc. My editor spends half her time putting in the contractions – I’ve, he didn’t, he couldn’t etc.
Now why do I do this? I have no idea it just comes out like that. I can only put it down to having been a famous writer in a previous life, before contractions became acceptable – Dickens, Shakespeare, Jane Austin perhaps. (Modesty prevents me from adding more famous ones).
And there hangs one of my biggest worries. That I will continue to live a very modest life, counting the pennies only to become famous after I’m dead! That would be the cruelest trick of all. While I’m marooned on some cloud, with an out of tune harp I can’t play, I’ll be forced to watch my great grandchildren on that yacht I’m itching to order, floating around the Mediterranean on the proceeds of my royalties.
Life ain’t fair.
I don’t think James II thought life was too fair. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m getting horribly confused by all these kings who kept giving their offspring the same names. It’s not as if there were no other names around, like Geobold, or Humphrey, or Edwitch, or Rumplestiltzkin. I can only conclude they had virtually no imagination at all.
So, first we had James I and IV of Scotland (the one who dribbled), and he had Henry, Elizabeth and Charles.
Henry obviously didn’t make it, so the next king was
Charles I. Now he didn’t dribble, but had his head cut off which was a lot more painful. He produced (well to be quite accurate his wife did) Charles, Mary of Orange (not to be confused with Nel Gwyn of the oranges) and yet another James. There were four more, but I’m not going to bother about them as they are not part of this story at all.
Charles II was invited back and he hopped onto the throne.
Are we quite clear up to this point? I hope you are, I’m still floundering.
Charles II died and because he only left 8 illegitimate children it was his brother who succeeded him.
Enter James II. I introduced him last time. To confuse things even more, he also had the title of James VII of Scotland.
James II was 53 when he became king, so he’d waited an awful long time. Can you imagine the worry he had in case his brother got a real baby prince or princess?
Before the Restoration (time the king was invited back) James had been fighting for the French against Spain (see last post) but when he was flung out, he then joined the Spanish army and fought against the French. And that would have been the end…
Except that things changed when his brother went back as king and although the two of them did not get on, James also returned to England and that would have been the end …
Except that Charles had no heirs and so James became king….
Except that in the meanwhile he’s been given all the land between the Delaware and Conneticut rivers (with apologies to American readers) and he also got New York. Here he erected the time ball in Times Square while he conducted his other interests, a slave company and the Hudson Bay Company.
But if you think that was bad enough, he did even worse. He married a commoner, without a drop of blue blood in her veins.