Hey there, lovely reader!
I went to the pictures last week to see Kenneth Branagh's A Haunting in Venice. I don't go to the movies that much. It's too loud. I am probably the only person who takes her earbuds with her, switches them to noise cancellation, and can still hear the soundtrack perfectly fine.
But I did go a month ago. It was the first time in three years I had been. The theatre had been updated and I sat in a nice squishy recliner seat. I had never had an issue with the seats at the cinema up to then, but now sitting in anything else to watch a movie for two and half hours seems completely unacceptable. The recliners for A Haunting in Venice were heated.
I liked the movie. I wasn't sure I would. It's based on Agatha Christie's Hallowe'en Party although I understand the film has adapted the story a lot.
It's quite a dark movie. I had to shut my eyes a few times (it's possible that might have been due to watching it lying down on a heated seat in the dark) and there were a lot of creaky doors and other spooky noises, but it held my attention, the cinematography was great, and the ending was good. All in all, I was pleased I went.
I would recommend the film. Especially if you get heated recliners to watch it in. Just make sure you've had a nap before you go.
Jigsaws and the state of writing
I started a new jigsaw puzzle last week. It's a 748 piece panorama of Stonehenge.
I love Stonehenge. I love the strangeness, the mystery of it. I love how when you drive over the hill on the A303 in your car/computer on wheels, this ancient monolith is just there . . . sitting in a field by the roadside. It is a spectacular scene and my breath is always taken away by it whenever I see it.
I've had this particular jigsaw for ages and was so looking forward to doing it, reliving memories as I did so. I've spent four hours on it so far. This is how far I've got.
I think it's the most difficult jigsaw I've ever done. Harder than this one, and that was hard.
With this Stonehenge jigsaw, multiple pieces have the capability of connecting with one another. As I attempt to do the edges comprising of entirely grass and sky, even when pieces fit, I don't know if I've got the right ones together. I'm tempted to give up. But I remind myself of last week.
I'm at the stage of “how do I thread this particular needle” of writing a book. I've got an early draft but it always needs something, a lot actually, before it's ready. When I get stuck or I need to chill out, I go to my jigsaw table a couple of feet from my writing desk. But last week's jigsaw was tough too.
“Christmas at Hogwarts” was only 500 pieces, but they were uniquely shaped with lots of indistinct visuals. I got really frustrated with it. But I kept at it.
Slowly, by reviewing the pieces I got to know them. This always happens. I might have to cast my eye over each one ten, fifteen, or twenty times but eventually my mind gets familiar with each piece and very gradually I come to know where they should go.
Writing a book is just like that. I know that now. (I didn't back when I first started and would want to tear my hair out.) Now I ride out the frustration.
I live with the tension of not knowing how my draft will get from good to great, because I know if I just keep at it, I'll get there. As Winston Churchill said, “If you're going through hell, keep going.”
The journey of writing a book isn't generally hellish, but it is full of bumps and craters. And I simply have to keep on until the elements of a plot, the facets of a character, and the right expressive words come together to form a cohesive
Eventually “Christmas at Hogwarts” did come together as I knew it would. But Stonehenge? I'm not so sure. Could this be the first jigsaw I abandon? Or should I keep at it?
I'm delighted to announce that the first four stories in the Inspector Graham series are now available as audiobooks. This had been a long time coming and I'm delighted they are now on the Amazon/Audible shelves. Narrator Matt and the team are cracking on and the rest of the books will follow. Links to the audiobooks are below. Click on them and listen to a sample.
Right, back to it for me. Writing, jigsaw, cup of tea, even. I'll be back next week with more news, stories, and who knows what!