I HAVE HAD A DIFFICULT LIFE IN SOME WAYS—and some notable failures—BUT I HAVE BEEN LARGELY SUCCESSFUL IN RELATION TO MY OVERALL GOALS.
HARD TO EXPLAIN. EXCITING TO LIVE.
BUT RARELY EASY
Writing has exceeded my wildest dreams.
When I wake I want to write. I crave it. I normally compose something in my head first—to prime the pump—and then I set to work. The greater the challenge, the greater the satisfaction. Writing is my joy.
Do I get everything right first time? Absolutely not. But, fortunately, I have come to love the re-writing process. Typically, I start off with something competent—but inadequate in some way—and then try and add some zest.
What do I mean by zest? I’m referring to something which will distinguish it in some way from the merely adequate.
Typically, it will be a quip, a joke, twist, or a punch line. It may just be a single word. It should make the end result more readable (make the reader want to know more).
If I am writing something serious (and depressing) about the U.S. economy that might be a stretch—but I try.
Where blogging is concerned, I rarely spend much time searching for the perfect word. My feeling is that I should blog within time constraints—and accept the limitations that inevitably result.
I’m more concerned about the clarity of the ideas they express and the discipline of getting one written every day—seven days a week. The process is demanding—seven days a week is not a trivial commitment—but immensely invigorating.
I get a writer’s high!
When I started writing I had no idea that writing would turn out to be so pleasurable—would become such a focus of my life. Back then I struggled to write because I felt an imperative to do so. But, I suffered for years. It took me a long time for writing to induce such happiness.
I would add ‘contentment,’ but I’m not sure a writer should be content. I rather value my restless mind.
Where purely creative writing is concerned, I tend to be more of a perfectionist. I don’t consciously write in a different way, but I do polish more, and think twice, before I consider a piece acceptable.
I don’t regard anything I write as good enough.
I never thought of adventuring in the sense of exploring the North Pole or anything similar. I’m not particularly physically brave—though I can have my moments.
Instead, I wanted to experience a wide variety of human situations—and get to know how the world worked a little better. I was particularly interested in different ways of life.
Why are the Swiss so Swiss? How do they do this stuff?
I wasn’t immune to the charms of women. They seemed to offer endless opportunities for adventure—and no small degree of pleasure. They are also, by and large, smarter than we males.
I was to find that women could also be quite dangerous. That aspect doesn’t seem to have changed much.
When I was young, the American Way of Life was touted as being the best—and it may have been so. I first visited the U.S. in the early Seventies and was impressed.
Sadly, I don’t think it is any longer.
Why do I miss Europe?
I guess that, deep down, I prefer a less materialistic consumer-driven environment—and I miss the character, culture, and sheer complexity of Europe. Also, I’m a historian so my heart is warmed by old buildings and a sense of history.
There is a great deal more I can say—and probably will—but now is not the time for it.
I will be 71 in May and have been giving serious thought to what I want, need, and can do for the rest of my life. My options are limited, but so are my wants. I am content with that—very much at peace with my focus.
Concerns for family and friends apart—a significant qualification—I have four ambitions.
Here are three of them.
- To improve my character. I have had some success in this area, but there is room for improvement. I have a couple of weaknesses I would particularly like to master. I’m damned if I want to publish them as yet. Let me make no bones about it. They are weaknesses. Do I have strengths that compensate? I probably do. I don’t consider them good enough.
- To get my little publishing company going. I have been delayed partly by my own imperfections—and partly by my accident of last year. On the other hand, the delays have improved my understanding of the project a great deal.
- To write. I have a long list of projects lined up, but the two most important are my military thriller which I have re-titled, THE BATTLE DANCER, and my memoirs, —CONFESSIONS OF A BOOK-WRITING MAN. My plan is to write this in five parts—and to make it explicit, humorous, fast paced, and outrageous. I have two follow-up major thrillers in the works. What is a major thriller? It is about 450 pages of heavily researched, highly entertaining, high adventure.
The fourth ambition concerns the opposite sex. It may well not be realized, but even at my age I rather fancy another romantic relationship.
Anyway, though I am quite self-sufficient and love most of what I do—which is to write—I have an open mind on the subject and I greatly enjoy women. Sometimes, they like me.
It would also make a neat ending for my memoirs. Besides, merely looking will be an adventure in itself.
The sentence is something of a cliché—but it it is true. As far as a writer is concerned, everything is material.
CAMDEN TOWN (London, UK)—YET ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL PHOTO BY MY SISTER, LUCY AYETTEY LYONS
THE BLUE HOUSE—ALSO BY LUCY
VOR words 963.