Friday, 25 September 2009

Welcome to my scratching post.

If you are wandering in prior to Nicola Morgan’s Blogoffee then the virtual tuna sandwiches have been made. Nicola chose tuna not salmon – with thinly sliced brown bread and the crusts cut off. You are welcome to help yourselves. The water is boiling in the kettle. Please help yourselves to virtual tea or virtual coffee as you wish.

I have also endeavoured to dust all the cat hair off my scratching post aka as ‘the blog’. It is a simple blog. I do not have a fancy layout. I do not have pictures. As a cat I have not managed to learn these things. As a human I am not interested. I did manage to get the "little bloggy picture thingy" up. The cat is, of course, myself and the book stack says a great deal more about the read and unread books, written and unwritten books in my life. That will have to do.

You will note I follow very few blogs. It is Vanessa's fault that I am following any blogs at all. Her blog is the Fidra blog. Vanessa is a publisher and a bookseller. She introduced me to Jane at "How Publishing Really Works" and Nicola at "Help I need a publisher. If any of you want to write I recommend them all for different reasons.

I prowl through some blogs as a cat. I am not sure why I do this but I feel comfortable with it. It is fun trying to maintain the character. Most of my life is so intensely earnest and serious I need a little light relief. This is due to my (largely unpaid) day job. I write communication boards for micro-aid workers to use in complex humanitarian emergencies. In simple English that means that I try to help independent aid workers communicate with the locals in disaster situations.

I like words. I have always liked words. I talk too much. Almost certainly I also write too much. There are several novels sitting in the ‘bottom drawer’ of my computer and two more in the actual desk drawer. I lack the courage to do anything with them – and they would need things done to them before I could let anyone else read them.

I have sent just one novel to a publisher. She keeps telling me she is going to read it; indeed that she wants to read it. The reality is that she is unlikely to read it – and if you are reading this my friend I am reminding you that you promised me a copy of another mss too!

My blog is a training exercise in a different sort of writing. There is something I would still like to achieve in my life. I would like to ride my tricycle around the coastline of Britain and keep a blog about it. Why? I do not know. It is just something that I think I want to do. If I actually set out on that journey I may feel quite differently about it. I am a coward. I have always been a coward. I can be brave inside my writing but not about my writing – or about anything else.

The idea of setting out into the unknown where people do not know me and I do not know them is frightening. No, be honest, it is terrifying. Realistically I know that, even if I do begin, I will not get all the way around Britain. The tricycle only has three gears and will not get me up a mountain. Britain has a lot of mountains. Also, I cannot mend a puncture or repair any other part of my mode of transport. I am not sure how far I can travel in one day. I cannot walk across a road fast enough not to get run over. If I could I might leave the tricycle behind and go on foot instead. I wonder what would happen if I was caught in a thunderstorm or it snowed? I wonder if I will need a tent in case I get stranded between two villages or between two remote and perhaps deserted crofts in the north-west of Scotland? I have to go to Scotland. My ancestors come from there. I would like to move there permanently. I do not like hot weather. There is a lot of hot weather in Adelaide.

There is also the small matter of finance and the accommodation that comes because you have finance and the fact that it would take much longer than three months - the British government would kick me out if I stayed longer than three months. Someone might give me a Press card of course. Can you imagine a cat with a Press card? I could stay (stray?) longer then. But, is there any point in writing such a blog if nobody reads it? I think about these things and I do not have answers for them. I need nine lives to do all this.

If you have reached this far, please leave your calling card in the comments tray. I promise not to scratch. It is early in the day, still just yesterday in the UK. I am planning to drop in to the Blogoffee morning at Nicola's later. I may see you there.

19 comments:

Donna Hosie said...

I think we may be the first two out of the blocks, cat, although I've never been a sprinter; more of a long distance runner.

I wish you had the confidence to put your writing out there in the hands of agents/publishers though. Your posts are engaging and beautifully written. I would love to read more.

catdownunder said...

Thankyou Donna. I am a (very) slow ambler in most things - the early bird post really is a matter of geography!

Rachel Fenton said...

"I am not sure how far I can travel in one day. I cannot walk across a road fast enough not to get run over" - I have tears in my eyes from laughing, for once! You always make me cry!

I agree with Donna - your posts are extremely moving and understated and I wish you all the confidence and success for your writing and tricycling!

This blogoffee morning is a great idea!

catdownunder said...

Thankyou Rachel. Glad I made you laugh for once!

Thomas Taylor said...

That tricycle trip is a great dream to have. I hope you manage to do it one day.

Here's a thought. Send your manuscripts to publishing houses around the British Isles (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol, for example) and then scoot round to pick them up again (and hopefully sign a contract or two -- you never know)

catdownunder said...

Ooohh...I like that idea. I wonder if they let cats in?

Kate said...

Thanks for the sandwiches. Enjoyed reading the post

Kate x

catdownunder said...

Thanks for dropping in Kate!

Kate said...

Hi there Cat,

I seem to be following the other Kate around these blogs! :-)

catdownunder said...

Purr! Tag! What fun!

6p00e54eced2e18833 said...

Cat, I've always loved your comments on Nicola Morgan's blog, but never got round to clicking through until now. I can see I'll be back...

OpenID isn't working properly, and despite all my efforts insists on calling me some hexa-decimal number, but actually I'm Emma Darwin at This Itch of Writing: http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/

catdownunder said...

I am glad you called in Emma - thankyou for the kind words. I will have to sort out how to keep up with you now!

Nicola Morgan said...

Hello from upunder! Thanks for all your amusing comments on my blog in the past and i'm glad I called in on your properly now as I'm having fun reading your blog / scratching post. I do worry that sometiems you may actually think you're a cat though...

Marion Gropen said...

I, too, have always enjoyed your comments, and am glad I'm now seeing your blog. Hope you decide to realize that dream, and take the trip! Sounds like a wonderful experience AND the seed of great writing.

catdownunder said...

Thankyou Nicola! I am honoured that you found time to come and visit me. It was the middle of the night so I went off a for a nap but the Blogoffee was great fun. I promise I'll turn human and deliver real chocolate one day.

catdownunder said...

Hello Marion - I know I put my paws around your virtual door at Jane's Pitch Party. Virtual parties can be just as much fun as real parties!

Melinda Szymanik said...

Maybe you need to start with a ride around New Zealand. It would be cheaper? and a good warm up for the UK thing and then I could invite you round for real coffee or litera-tea.

catdownunder said...

Thankyou! I once saw a tiny bit of New Zealand - Auckland Harbour. It was serene on the day I saw it and I have always wanted to go back...but the hills in New Zealand? Do you think I could get my tricycle up the hills?

virtualquilter said...

I am hoping the blogoffee is still hot ......... you put the kettle on while I was away, and it has taken a while to get around the more civilised corners of the state to get here.
I always enjoy your writing, and I am still only part way through the bits I missed along with the coffee.
Thank you for blogging.