I wouldn’t mind, but there are a few other things I’d like to have some time for. Eating and sleeping, for instance.
OK, it’s not actually that bad, but I think it is getting out of hand. I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the past week writing a (long) short story – the first of many, I hope, as I’d like to start submitting to competitions again. There’s the Bridport, and the Elizabeth Jolley Prizes coming up for instance, both of which are worth winning for the prize money alone. More importantly, they have sufficient prestige to give the winners a way in to the publishing industry. Like most competitions, they’re inundated with entries, which makes it difficult to stand out enough to make the short-list. Still, you’ve got to be in it to win it, as they say.
My biggest problem is not writing, but computers. I’ve recently set up a second blog. This one is all about gardening – something I know a bit about, having been a jobbing gardener for some years. If you’re interested, it’s called Pulling Weeds. I’m hoping it might help me place some articles with gardening magazines. But setting up the blog, and getting it working, has proven to be something of a nightmare. I’ve wasted hours, mornings, even entire days trying to sort out the glitches. This morning, for instance, I’ve spent two hours trying to post a comment on a blog. Trouble is, I want to comment as Literary Lad, but WordPress is insisting I’ve got to do it as Pulling Weeds! I want to keep my two identities separate. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and be a great enabler. The reality is that it just seems to take over our lives, so that we spend more and more of our waking hours just tapping away at ‘devices’, messing about with the ‘Tech’ rather than actually doing what we’d intended. And now they’re starting to put them into robots. Hasn’t anyone seen The Terminator? It’s only a matter of time before the machines take over.
I’ve been in Manchester for the past few days, which is where the picture at the top of the page comes from. It’s a sculpture in the recently developed area around Medlock Street, where the new arts centre ‘Home’ (the replacement for The Cornerhouse) is located. Home is a great place to hang out, with a theatre and cinemas, exhibition areas, a café and a restaurant. Manchester is booming, with a lot of buildings that were new to me, and more to come. There’s obviously a lot of affluence there, but I also saw a disturbing number of homeless people. I guess that’s endemic to the society in which we live, with the continuing transference of wealth upwards. One day we’ll wake up and see what we’re doing to society.
As well as writing short stories, blog posts, and struggling with technology, I’m also close to finalising my second novel – more about that soon.