Tuesday, March 4, 2014


If you hear a voice within you say, 'You cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."

-- Vincent Van Gogh,
Dutch artist

Yesterday, I worked for 14 hours sustained only by two mugs of tea. I’ve come to the conclusion I work better when somewhat hungry—though I don’t notice that I’m hungry when I’m writing (more or less true). Also, I seem to have more energy—not less—when I eat less.

Counter-intuitive? Very much so. Downright unscientific.

In fact, I’m not quite sure what lessons to draw from all this—because we all have different metabolisms—but I’m certainly of the view that we eat too much, eat the wrong things all too often, and are conditioned into truly terrible habits.

I say ‘conditioned’ because even if you think you are a rugged individualist—who is entirely his or her own person—you are wrong. Even the mentally strongest of us is affected to some extent by the barrage of commercial and political propaganda that surrounds us from birth to death—and there is substantial research to support that statement. Are there exceptions? I doubt there are—except in degree. Some of us are undoubtedly more influenced than others.

It strikes me that it is about time we admitted that the tools of marketing work—and I say that as someone who used to be in marketing (among other things) before I became a writer—and reined them in somewhat. Freedom of choice is an illusion if someone else is pulling your strings—and our strings are pulled much more than we are willing to concede. Europe constrains the excesses of commercialism to some extent—and is, in my opinion, much the better for it. We do not.

Do I normally work such long days? No—I haven’t gone completely loopy—and normally work ten to twelve hour days. However, in this case, I had had something of a breakthrough—and just wanted to stay with it.

Why have I changed my eating habits? Fundamentally, as an exercise in willpower. True, I wanted to lose some weight as well—but what I really wanted to do was see if I could. Call it an exercise in character building. Insert the words ‘much-needed’ in front of ‘exercise.’

Can one improve one’s character? Being of a curious disposition, that’s what I’m trying to find out. My sense is that it is extremely difficult—rather like writing—but worth the effort. Currently, I’m six months in—and intrigued by the results. They are not what I expected; but—hunger apart—they are nothing but good.

After a walk, I finished the day by watching Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, the movie QUARTET. All I can say is that even if Hoffman did not have an impressive body of work to his credit already, he would have more than justified his existence by way of this magnificent movie. It’s a masterpiece directed with sensitivity—and a light touch. It’s also vastly entertaining and moving. Beautifully written too. Funny? Extremely so. It’s also a movie about human decency—a quality that it is good to be reminded of every now and then.

My normal type of movie? No—but I love Maggie Smith in just about anything—and you’d be a sad sack if Billy Connolly didn’t brighten your day.

What’s it about? You’ll find the details on Wiki. I’m trying to make my blogs shorter—which is a great deal harder than making them longer.

All in all, it was an exceptionally good day. I truly love what I do.


Hello Victor, I happened upon your blog at BLOGSPOT.COM and remembered that you were once my favorite read!  Last I heard from you was an email after you had moved  to VA and your daughter was off on her life adventure.  How are things all these years later?  I always expect a new book and would welcome it with readers lust!!  Hope all is well with you and that you are having lots of smiles and fun in your world!  

Teri Lambert

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